Kilbride opponent JUSTPAC reports $165,000 in business, hospital group money

Opponents of a retention-seeking Supreme Court justice from Rock Island have netted another $165,000, according to campaign reports filed this afternoon.

JUSTPAC, the political committee of the Illinois Civil Justice League, a pro-business/tort-reform organization, reported receiving $150,000 from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and another $15,000 from the Illinois Hospital Association.

JUSTPAC is working to oust Democrat Tom Kilbride, a Supreme Court Justice from the 3rd Judicial District who needs 60 percent of the vote in order to hold another a 10-year term.

The six-figure checks we’ve reported over the last two days suggests there’s going to be a lot of activity on both the pro- and anti-Kilbride sides in the final weeks before the election.

The Kilbride retention election has drawn the interest of business groups and medical malpractice reform interests in part because of the justice’s participation on a 4-2 majority decision that struck down laws establishing some caps on jury awards for victims.

Both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Hospital Association were large contributors to 2004 Republican State Supreme Court candidate Lloyd Karmeier in what became the nation’s most expensive judicial contest in history. The Karmeier-Maag contest set a new record for the most expensive State Supreme Court campaign, as the two candidates, combined, raised more than $9.3 million.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was noted as one of the nation’s “Super Spenders” in judicial campaigns in a http://www.justiceatstake.org/media/cms/JASNPJEDecadeONLINE_8E7FD3FEB83E... >report analyzing campaign money over the last 10 years from the Brennan Center for Justice, Justice At Stake, and the National Institute on Money in State Politics. The report noted the Chamber’s involvement in campaigns in Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Mississippi and West Virginia.