Today (Friday, July 6) Gov. Pat Quinn signed Senate Bill 3722, carving a large loophole into the campaign contribution limits law.
With his signature, Gov. Quinn has made it easier for large campaign contributors to buy political favors, and he has moved Illinois back toward the same kind of system that produced two corrupt governors now serving prison sentences.
Gov. Quinn's record on reform had a promising beginning with his signature on the 2009 bill creating the state's first comprehensive contribution limits, but he took a wrong turn with his signature on this limits loophole.
He has opened the door to a return of Blagojevich-proportion contributions in the 2014 gubernatorial election.
Quinn's action today immediately legalized the removal of limits on all contributions to candidates running in an election where spending by an independent committee (SuperPAC) or individual reaches a threshold amount of $250,000 in a statewide race or $100,000 in all other election contests.
After the limits law was passed in 2009, federal court decisions have prevented enforcement of limits on contributions to political action committees that spend money to influence the outcome of elections and do not coordinate with any candidates.
Instead of responding with removal of limits on contributions to candidates, ICPR advocated enactment of a clear definition of independent expenditures PACs. This would have been a safeguard against the kind of SuperPACs seen on the federal level where "independent" PACs are intertwined with candidates. ICPR also supports improved finance disclosure giving the public more information about SuperPAC supporters in all election communications.