DuPage Co., IL. (ECWd) -
Earlier last week, during a routine examination of the State Board of Elections contributions database, I stumbled across a new Political Action Committee ("PAC") formed in May 2020, which had received $1,000.00 "donations" from 7 townships in DuPage County.
The new PAC was named "Township Officials of DuPage County" - and was registered with the Illinois State Board of Elections as a PAC, on May 21, 2020, (See the D-1 Statement of Organization). Randy Ramey, former Illinois State Representative and current Wayne Township Supervisor is listed as the Chairman, and Lorraine Grimsby, an employee of Loyola University Chicago and Downers Grove Township Clerk is listed as the Treasurer.
On June 5, 2020, the PAC reported as receiving $7000 in "donations" consisting of $1000 each from the following 7 townships in DuPage County: Addison, Lisle, Wayne, Bloomingdale, Downers Grove, Naperville, and York (See the reports here and here).
While talking to the Chairman, he stated they decided to register as a PAC because they raised the donation (membership) amount for each township to $1000 each, when it was previously only $500 each. He told me they were just like TOI (Township Officials of Illinois) and that they did not donate to campaigns, but rather donated to Lobbyists. He also said this organization has been around for years, receiving $500 from each township, but since they raised it to $1000, they had to register.
A few hours later, we were informed that "it was a mistake" to register as a PAC and the association would either be unregistered or dissolved. Still waiting on verification of the unregistering or dissolution.
A search of the Illinois Secretary of State's registration database showed at least 18 various township officials associations registered to do business in Illinois. The "Township Officials of DuPage County" is not listed as being registered to do business in Illinois.
This problem must be fixed, and it can be, by doing the following:
- immediately return the public funds back to the townships who provided them before someone files a complaint, then
- unregister as a PAC (if it is not a PAC), then
- register with the IRS to get a tax ID number, if they haven't already, then
- register with the Sec of State's office as an association in order to conduct business in Illinois, then
- ask townships to join the properly registered, not-a-PAC, association,
- OR - conduct business as an Intergovernmental Agreement, which would then be subject to the Freedom of Information Act, then
- provide a full accounting of all public money that was paid to this entity prior to forming the PAC
While we understand innocent mistakes can happen, we also wonder why any township would write checks to any business/association without first verifying they are a legitimate, legal, business, or association.
The Illinois Township Code, Section 85-15, authorizes townships to join certain township organizations, but only for the listed purposes:
(60 ILCS 1/85-15)
Sec. 85-15. Township Officials of Illinois. The township board may provide for joining the township in an association of townships or a not-for-profit corporation with membership consisting of, townships and may provide for the payment of annual membership dues and fees. The member townships, acting through the instrumentality, may provide and disseminate information and research services and perform other acts for the purpose of improving township government in Illinois. The instrumentality may be known as the Township Officials of Illinois or another appropriate name as the member townships may determine.
(Source: P.A. 82-783; 88-62.)