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May 17, 2024

Gubernatorial Candidate Jesse Sullivan Used Public Property in Campaign Advertisement-

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On March 29, 2022


The campaign for Jesse Sullivan for Governor recently published a campaign advertisement, which we believe constitutes improper electioneering – not only by Sullivan but also by all of the Sheriffs who appeared in uniform with their publicly owned vehicles behind them, while endorsing Sullivan.

Specifically, Article VIII Section I of the Illinois Constitution outlines public funds, property, and credit shall only be used for a public purpose and the use of the public property for a private purpose can constitute Official Misconduct by the County Sheriffs.

Additionally, the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, which all local governments must adopt, prohibits such prohibited political activity (read this). Local governments must either adopt the state statute or enact their own ordinance “no less restrictive” than the state statute and are permitted to prescribe their own penalties for violating their ordinance.

The problems as we see them:

  • Use of government vehicles for campaign purposes
  • Use of government fuel and vehicle depreciation for campaign purposes
  • Use of police warning lights for campaign purposes
  • Appearing in campaign commercials in uniform for the purpose of endorsing a campaign (uniform is public property)

The Sheriffs involved in this include:

  • McLean County Sheriff Joe Sandage
  • Cass County Sheriff Devron Ohrn
  • Piatt County Sheriff Mark Vogelzang
  • Menard County Sheriff’s vehicle
  • Saline County Sheriff J. Whipper Johnson
  • More unidentified individuals in uniform

At least two law enforcement vehicles were used, which appear (numbers were blurry) to have the following license plate numbers:

  • Sheriff 63-4
  • Sheriff 57-1

With Illinois having a well-established history of governors going to jail, how ironic it would be to see a candidate for Governor tempting fate for using public property to create his campaign commercials.

We reached out to Mr. Sullivan but have not had any response prior to publication.  If he responds we will update accordingly.

We also reached out to all the sheriffs listed.  The email address published for the Menard County Sheriff and Saline County Sheriff were invalid.  None of the others have responded at the time of publication.  If they respond we will update accordingly.


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  • Greg G
    Posted at 02:48h, 30 March

    Maybe you should ask Gov. Pritzker who in his adds has said that his administration has closed the gap in paying State bills. State employee health claims are being paid as slowly as they were under Gov. Rauner! 140 days to pay Delta Dental claims for employees and retirees. The State doesn’t have the money to pay the bills but they have money to pay interest on the late bills. If we are going to criticize, one candidate lets look at all of them. It’s only fair.

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 09:29h, 30 March

      To imply we are not looking at other candidates is misplaced. The article was about alleged violations of law, not about politics.

  • Hugh Askew
    Posted at 19:54h, 30 March

    jb pritzger uses an entire bridge in his ads paid for with tax dollars. Have you reached out to him with any official misconduct allegations?

    • John Kraft
      Posted at 20:14h, 30 March

      the bridge wasn’t constructed for the purpose of a campaign commercial

      • Hugh
        Posted at 09:15h, 03 April

        The end results are still the same. My tax dollars are being used to promote the reelection of jb fat arse.

  • James Gerke
    Posted at 08:25h, 14 May

    Irving proclaims that he was a combat infantryman. Yet he doesn’t have a Combat Infantryman badge. Which only gets awarded to Army soldiers who have been in Actual Combat against the enemy. Fire fights, hand to hand combat etc. Not just because you may have been in or near a combat area. You could be a clerk or cook or mail orderly in a combat area and never personally experience combat. And he Irving has the nerve to say that he has more combat experience than Sullivan. What experience???