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Proviso Probe

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

M06, spoke to Rep. Calvin Giles [8th Rep]

I finally spoke to Rep. Calvin Giles today.

I asked about the incident with the Oak Park cop. Giles recounted things slightly differently than Smith and Norwood.

"I pulled up as they were circulating [nominating petitions]," Giles said. "I was dropping off my petitions [for Smith and Norwood to circulate]." Giles said the police officer had engaged Smith and Norwood by the time he arrived. Giles wrote down the license plate of the vehicle, but has since thrown it away.

Giles speculated that Sen. Kimberly Lightford continues to harbor resentment against him over her decision to support Sen. James T. Meeks over Giles for joint Black caucus chair. Giles denied holding a grudge against Lightford. "Anybody who knows me will tell you, I'm not like that," Giles said.

Giles said he heard rumors Meeks was threatening to send 5,000 of his parishioners to the Eighth District to campaign against Giles. Giles complained Meeks was acting based on "hearsay and a false premise" that Giles was supporting James T. Smith against Lightford.

Giles approached Meeks about the issue. Giles told me, "we had some choice words."

Giles acknowledged hearing that LaShawn K. Ford is circulating nominating petitions. Giles listed Sen. Hendon, Sen. Trotter and Sen. Meeks as supporters of ousting Giles. Giles expressed confidence he retains the support of Alderman Isaac Carothers.


  • From Todays Tribune

    Why is Giles above the law?

    Published November 14, 2005

    Candidates for office in Illinois operate under few restrictions when it comes to collecting and spending campaign contributions. Pretty much all that's asked of them is this: Be transparent.

    Fully disclose to the public exactly who is contributing to your campaign and how much is given. Do so in a timely fashion.

    "If Moammar Gadhafi wants to give you $1 million funneled through a foreign corporation to hire an assassin to kill your opponent, that's all OK according to our campaign disclosure laws," said David Morrison, deputy director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, recalling a time-worn Illinois adage. "You just have to report it."

    Easy, right? Not for state Rep. Calvin Giles, who has a curious and persistent problem disclosing who is giving him political support and how he's spending it. The Democrat from Chicago's West Side owes an astounding $144,000 for 50 different instances of failing to file a required campaign finance report on time.

    The 1998 Gift Ban Act authorized the State Board of Elections to penalize political committees that fail to meet filing deadlines. The board can impose hefty fines and even remove candidates from the ballot if the fines aren't paid.

    Giles has until Jan. 19 to pay up or face the consequences, which could include denying him a ballot spot in the Democratic primary in March.

    Giles has ignored repeated attempts by election officials to contact him. Maybe he thinks he's above the law. Last year, he fended off a legal challenge to remove him from the November ballot. That decision, however, was based on a technicality in the law, not on the merits of the case.

    At that time, he owed roughly $80,000 in fines. Since then, the state board has slapped more penalties on Giles for campaign law violations, bringing his fines to $144,000.

    In a normal election year, roughly 3,500 political committees are required to file campaign disclosure reports, according to state election officials. Of those, roughly 200 to 250 don't file on time, but they eventually meet their obligations. No public official has gone so far out of his way to snub the law as Giles has.

    Disclosure laws are there for an important reason. They give voters information about candidates and who supports them, about possible conflicts of interest and about how responsibly the candidates spend their campaign money.

    When Giles thumbs his nose at state election law, he thumbs his nose at voters. The State Board of Elections will be right to continue to press Giles to obey the law, even if it means taking him off the ballot.

    By Anonymous Cut Calvin Loose, at 8:22 PM, November 14, 2005  

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