People donate to politicians’ campaigns on the expectation that their dollars will in some way help them win election or re-election.
According to campaign records with the Illinois Elections Board, Illinois State Sen. James Clayborne spent $42,000 in campaign donations on chauffeured limousines between 2003 and 2014 and another $50,000 during those years on personal overseas travel to a dozen nations. Clayborne’s response was that “campaign dollars were donations and not public dollars.”
While the public cares how Clayborne spends their donations to his campaign, Illinois law however, allows state legislators to use money from their state campaign accounts for personal expenses. In contrast, federal law prohibits the use of campaign funds for personal use. Recent enforcement examples are Jesse Jackson Jr. serving 2 1/2 years in prison and Congressman Aaron Schock resigning his position for their misuse of campaign funds.
The obvious question that begs for an answer is why does the State of Illinois permit the use of campaign funds for personal use? Now that we have all stopped laughing for the obvious reasons, there is, however, a requirement for the personal use of campaign funds to be reported as income on a politician’s Federal Income tax return. Surely Mr. Clayborne will produce for us copies of his tax returns for the years in question.