Editorials

Mike Madigan speaks louder than you: that’s the law

Illinois law allows political leaders to spend unlimited amounts on state office races, but limits your contributions. A federal judge in Chicago ruled political leaders’ unique role in the system warrants that disparity.
Illinois law allows political leaders to spend unlimited amounts on state office races, but limits your contributions. A federal judge in Chicago ruled political leaders’ unique role in the system warrants that disparity. bweisenstein@bnd.com

You are not unique enough. A Chicago federal judge said so on Wednesday.

You deserve a lesser voice than Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and all of his special committees. That makes sense, because Madigan has so little opportunity to make his views known compared to you, right?

U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman ruled in Chicago that Illinois’ 2009 campaign finance law properly limits how much an individual or political action committee can donate to a candidate for state office while allowing political parties and party leaders to make unlimited contributions through their committees. He reasoned that the unique role they play in the political system warranted those special powers.

So your role is not unique. Less political voice for you.

The law was being challenged by the Liberty Justice Center, an offshoot of the Illinois Policy Institute, based on the state campaign law’s curbs to your First Amendment rights to freedom of speech. State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, is a plaintiff in the challenge because he said it is unfair that leadership can dump unlimited dollars on some candidates while he is limited because he doesn’t get leadership money.

“Illinois’ political leaders should not be allowed to use campaign finance rules to tilt the political playing field in their favor and protect themselves from competition,” said Jacob Huebert, senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center.

They are appealing Feinerman’s decision. Maybe you will become more unique.

  Comments