Campaign Finance
3:35 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Lawsuit seeks to remove campaign donation limits in Illinois

Reporting in this story from Brian Mackey.

A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday challenges Illinois' campaign finance laws. It seeks to remove limits on how much individuals and groups can donate to candidates.

The case argues there are two sets of rules under Illinois campaign law.

"One set of rules for the party bosses -- both political parties -- and another set of rules in terms of political participation for the other 13 million Illinoisans," Dan Proft said. Proft is the head of the conservative Illinois Liberty Political Action Committee, which brought the case. 

Illinois law says groups like his can only give $50,000 in an election cycle. For individuals, the limit's $5,000.

Proft says the problem is that political parties have much higher limits in the primaries and no limits in the general election.

But David Morrison, with the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, which favors limits, says giving private groups the same corrupting power that parties have is not the answer.

"For them to come in and tear down the whole system -- they're doing the dirty work for people who want to corrupt state government," Morrison said.

The plaintiffs say they're not arguing for more money in politics -- just equal treatment under the law. But their legal filing makes clear they're "ready, willing and able" to raise and spend more than current law allows.

Follow Brian Mackey on Twitter: @brianmackey