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Proviso Probe

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

M06, Giles settles fines [8th Rep]

Sun-Times (Tracy Swartz):
SPRINGFIELD -- Paying less than a quarter on the dollar, state Rep. Calvin Giles agreed Monday to give state election authorities more than $25,000 to settle $144,000 in campaign fines so he can stay on the March primary ballot.

The deal was approved unanimously by the State Board of Elections and praised by a government watchdog, allowing the West Side Democrat to set aside the title of Illinois' most notorious election scofflaw.

Does Rep. Calvin Giles deserve congratulations?

One of the things that's always bothered me about the Illinois State Board of Elections is how passive it is about dealing with alleged violations of election law. The personnel won't lift a finger on most stuff, but they can tell when a document is filed late.

For example, Paul Esparza not filing any campaign disclosure when he ran for Dem Committeeman of Proviso Township in 2002 would seem to be a more serious violation of the law than Giles filing paperwork late. But Esparza wasn't held accountable and Giles was.

Sen. Kimberly Lightford failed to file campaign disclosure forms when she ran for Maywood trustee in 1997 (or was it '99). As far as I know she never had her knuckles wrapped.

Eugene Moore contributing to Welch's school board race under the name EMM would seem to violate the laws against secret donations. I personally reported this to the Board of Elections. As far as I know nothing was done about it.

But those bureaucrats can tell when a form is filed late.

It seems like Giles is being punished for the failing to dot his "i"s and cross his "t"s to create the appearance that the State Board of Elections is enforcing rules when the important rules aren't being effectively enforced.


  • Carl, I totally agree with you. The Illinois Board of Elections rarely enforce payment of penalties for filing late disclosure reports. It's almost unprecedented until recent time. For years politicians would accumulate late filing penalties and the board wouldn't do anything. As long as the forms were eventually filed, the board would usually leave it alone. Giles got a bum rap to have to pay that kind of money when so many others as you mentioned didn't even bother to file anything ever.

    By Blogger WestsideBen, at 2:51 PM, January 11, 2006  

  • Chicago Trib editorialized on this case.

    Forget Giles. This sends a message to any candidate who does have something to hide: If you have shady contributions you really don't want voters to know about, you can get away with it. The price will be quite affordable.

    I still think having the board put more energy into following-up on apparent violations of the law is a higher priority than slapping around people who suck at paperwork.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 2:26 PM, January 12, 2006  

  • Of course, the Trib would seem more sincere if they did more campaign finance research and reporting.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 2:27 PM, January 12, 2006  

  • Austin Weekly News coverage.

    The four-term Democrat, whose 8th legislative District includes the West Side and portions of Oak Park and Riverside, racked up around $80,000 worth in fines from 2000 to 2003. Due to a technicality in state law, the board of elections cannot use that amount to keep Giles off future election ballots. Giles was allowed to stay on the November 2004 ballot following a court order.

    By Blogger Carl Nyberg, at 9:15 PM, January 12, 2006  

  • Hey Carl Giles had a fundraier Friday and damn near kissed Lightford's asshole on the stage!
    Wishy-washy Giles must be skared shitless of Ford.

    I know for a fact Smith was circulating Giles petitions and his own cause I signed both of them. What a doublecrosser.

    I was glad Giles got off on those fines but I hope Ford kicks his ass good.

    By Anonymous RB, at 8:22 AM, January 14, 2006  

  • I just today mailed my semi-annual report to the State Election Board. Illinois law,indeed has no teeth or any real meaning. For example, I did NOT have to list anyone individually who had given less than $500.01. It used to be over $150 had to be individually identified, and therefore, subject to anyone looking up one's filings and seeing who is making significant contributions. My complaint is that that $150 or $500 may be a reasonable cutoff point for a statewide race to assume that secrecy is OK because that "low" a figure is not something that could reasonably be assumed to "BUY" ones support for actions that you would not have taken anyway. BUT, and this is a BIG BUT, local races such as village, township, even the rural counties, and, definitely my own village races, over $50 would be a suggested place to start requiring the identification of the donor. Can you imagine what that might reveal in some of these local races where "ONLY" $10,000 or so is the total spent. Again, am I, as Ted Leverenz used to call me, a "goody guv."

    By Anonymous Gary Woll, at 5:44 PM, January 16, 2006  

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