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Public Money for Campaign Contributions?
The City of Paris made a campaign contribution in the amount of $405.00 to the Roger Eddy / Dale Righter Golf Outing on October 3, 2008. This golf outing was used as a fundraising event for their campaigns and, according to the document requested through the Freedom of Information Act, the City of Paris paid $405.00 using public funds.
I’m sure the citizens of Paris are proud that their tax money went to support a candidate in his re-election efforts and that their local elected officials are good stewards of their hard earned money.
I would think that as an elected official, acting in the best interest of the public, you would know beyond a doubt that a campaign donation with public money is wrong. If that’s not the case, you are in the wrong profession (especially of you are a lawyer).
Use of public (taxpayer) funds for campaign contributions violates several laws, and I’ll list them below:
- First, let’s look at Article VIII, Constitution of the State of Illinois, which states:
SECTION 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS
(a) Public funds, property or credit shall be used only for public purposes
(b) The State, units of local government and school districts shall incur obligations for payment or make payments from public funds only as authorized by law or ordinance.
FYI: Public Officials have recently been convicted of felonies for misuse of Public funds using Article VII of the Constitution. Ask the former Mayor of Pekin, IL what he thinks about the subject. If you read that linked file, it makes a reference to hotel rooms for conferences that we will discus in a later article that I’m sure Tom D. will enjoy.
- Next up is the Illinois Election Code, which states:
(b) No public funds shall be used to urge any elector to vote for or against any candidate or proposition, or be appropriated for political or campaign purposes to any candidate or political organization. This Section shall not prohibit the use of public funds for dissemination of factual information relative to any proposition appearing on an election ballot, or for dissemination of information and arguments published and distributed under law in connection with a proposition to amend the Constitution of the State of Illinois.
(c) The first time any person violates any provision of this Section, that person shall be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor. Upon the second or any subsequent violation of any provision of this Section, the person violating any provision of this Section shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
(a) No candidate may knowingly receive any contribution solicited or received in violation of Section 33-3.1 or Section 33-3.2 of the Criminal Code of 1961.
(b) The receipt of political contributions in violation of this Section shall constitute a Class A misdemeanor. The appropriate State's Attorney or the Attorney General shall bring actions in the name of the people of the State of Illinois.
- Finally there is the Official Misconduct on the part of all the “players” in this instance.
Sec. 33‑3. Official Misconduct.) A public officer or employee or special government agent commits misconduct when, in his official capacity or capacity as a special government agent, he commits any of the following acts:
(a) Intentionally or recklessly fails to perform any mandatory duty as required by law; or
(b) Knowingly performs an act which he knows he is forbidden by law to perform; or
(c) With intent to obtain a personal advantage for himself or another, he performs an act in excess of his lawful authority; or
(d) Solicits or knowingly accepts for the performance of any act a fee or reward which he knows is not authorized by law.
A public officer or employee or special government agent convicted of violating any provision of this Section forfeits his office or employment or position as a special government agent. In addition, he commits a Class 3 felony.
The only remaining question is what the City Council and Mayor will do now that they know this is public information. I’m sure there are ways to try and keep the information from leaking out, like putting the list of bills paid in the wrong order in response to our FOIA request, which clearly didnt work, but the key thing here is that the elected and/or appointed Public Officials involved should immediately resign their positions, including Roger Eddy – the recipient of the donation, and repay the $405.00 to the city, with interest.