2006 Judicial Contests: Same Interests, Different Result, Same Outcome?

Fundraising in the Fifth District Appellate Court race, as in the last Fifth District Supreme Court race, was dominated by tort interests. In both races, the Republican drew most of his resources from national tort reform organizations, often funneled through the state Party, while the Democrat drew most of his resources from personal injury plaintiff's lawyers, sometimes funneled through the state Party. Unlike in 2004, this time it appears that the Democrat won. But once again, voters in the area were subjected to an aerial barrage of negative attack ads that ultimately undermine the stature of the judiciary. And tort cases make up only a small part of the Court's docket.

Illinois' campaign finance laws require disclosure only; there are no limits on how much interests can give. In reaction to the 2004 Supreme Court race, the legislature changed the laws about giving by non-profits. But this race makes plain that donors can continue to mask their identity. The American Justice Partnership gave $305K directly to one candidate without disclosing where they raised that money. Unless the AJP discloses its donors, these contributions may be in violation of Illinois law. But giving by the Institute for Legal Reform and plaintiff's lawyers to the state parties, most of which quickly made its way to the candidates, apparently broke no state rules, even though it effectively shielded the original source of the money. Illinois law does not provide adequate oversight of conduits to make disclosure work in a timely manner.

Other judicial contests fit the pattern, though we're still crunching the numbers. Below are preliminary tallies for the Fifth District Appellate Court race; final counts won't be available until early next year. Late contributions, some of which may include pass through money, might not be reported until early next year. Several pass through donors, including the state parties and JUSTPAC, were involved in more than one judicial race.

Top Contributors to McGlynn from posted Pre-Election Reports and A-1’s
$10,000 or More 7/1/2006 – Midnight 11/7/2006

Total Reported Fundraising by McGlynn: $2,239,808

Top Donors to McGlynn

Apl5 McGlynn, Stephen $1,204,000 Illinois Republican Party
Apl5 McGlynn, Stephen $305,000 American Justice Partnership
Apl5 McGlynn, Stephen $201,000 JUSTPAC
Apl5 McGlynn, Stephen $120,000 American Tort Reform Association
Apl5 McGlynn, Stephen $40,000 Illinois Chamber of Commerce PAC
Apl5 McGlynn, Stephen $15,805 Illinois State Medical Society PAC

Money Available for pass through to McGlynn (these donors were also active in other judicial races)

IL State Rep Party $1,875,000 Institute for Legal Reform

JUSTPAC $140,000 American Tort Reform Association
JUSTPAC $100,000 American Justice Partnership
JUSTPAC $60,000 Illinois Chamber Political Action Committee
JUSTPAC $25,000 Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
JUSTPAC $25,000 Caterpillar Inc
JUSTPAC $20,000 Pfizer Pac
JUSTPAC $17,000 Reagan Club of Illinois
JUSTPAC $11,000 Cassens Transport
JUSTPAC $10,000 Peoples Energy PAC
JUSTPAC $10,000 Allstate Insurance Company

Top Contributors to Stewart from posted Pre-Election Reports and A-1’s
$10,000 or more 7/1/2006 – Midnight 11/7/2006

Total Reported Fundraising by Stewart: $1,047,221

Top Donors to Stewart

Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $314,366 Democratic Party of Illinois
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $58,290 Southern & Central Illinois Laborers
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $32,000 M & R Testing Company/Ronald Osman
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $16,050 Illinois Federation of Teachers COPE
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $15,000 Power Rogers & Smith PC
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $15,000 Corboy & Demetrio PC
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $15,000 Cooney and Conway
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $15,000 Clifford Law Offices PC
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $12,500 Market Street Bancshares Inc.
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $12,075 12th CD DemState Central Com Fund
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $10,916 Womick Law Firm Chartered
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $10,660 Keefe, Jr., Thomas Q
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $10,000 IL State AFL CIO COPE
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $10,000 Callis, Lance
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $10,000 Anesi Ozmon Rodin Novak & Kohen Ltd
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $10,000 AFSCME Illinois Council 31
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $10,000 Foote Meyers Mielke & Flowers LLC
Apl5 Stewart, Bruce $10,000 Simmons-Cooper

Money Available for pass through to Stewart (these donors were also active in other judicial races)

Democratic Party of IL $50,000 Thomas Q. Keefe Jr. PC
Democratic Party of IL $50,000 Diab & Bock
Democratic Party of IL $50,000 Simmons Cooper LLC
Democratic Party of IL $25,000 Korein Tillery LLC
Democratic Party of IL $15,000 Freed & Weiss LLC
Democratic Party of IL $15,000 ILTrial Lawyers Association PAC