October 29

Looks like a shell game to us. How is the Illinois Coalition for Jobs Justice and Prosperity (and Apple Pie) coming up with so much cash? They've reported giving themselves $345K since July 1. The Jobs Coalition's website appears to list no means of support that could generate that kind of surplus; they seek donations in the $25-$100 range.

Similarly, how did the Justice for All Foundation get $385K to give to its PAC? The Foundation was created only last summer; that's a quick surplus to generate in a matter of weeks. And if they are tax-exempt they're not supposed to be doing political giving. What kind of foundation is this, anyway?

So who are the biggest

donors to candidates and caucuses? At this stage, it's still hard to get a clean read; some of these PACs are giving to each other. Here's a list of the largest reported non-party/non-caucus donors to candidates, caucuses and parties since July 1, 2004. See if you can discern any patterns:

(1) U.S. Chamber of Commerce $2,050,000

(2) Illinois Civil Justice League/JUSTPAC $1,170,808

(3) Illinois Education Association/IPACE $707,366

(4) Illinois State Medical Society $427,642

(5) Illinois Federation of Teachers $367,001

(6) Illinois Chamber of Commerce $350,316

(7) Illinois Hospital Association $338,259

(8) Corboy & Demetrio $267,500

(9) Service Employees International Union $257,400

(10) Lakin Law Firm $256,914

(11) Illinois Trial Lawyers Association $250,500

(12) Power Rogers & Smith $219,200

(13) Association of Beer Distributors of Illinois $214,500

(14) Fred Eychaner $203,500

(15) Realtors PAC $195,120

(16) Cooney & Conway $165,000

(17) Manufacturers PAC $161,500

(18) Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois $160,570

(19) Simmons Law Firm $158,000

(20) Anesi Ozmon Rodin Novak & Kohen $157,550

That Fifth District race is really driving up the totals......