The [Wednesday] Papers
"Even as he runs to hold on to his job in Tuesday's primary, Gov. Pat Quinn is still raising money for a U.S. Senate campaign he lost in 1996," the Tribune reports.
I guess he's still paying off an old debt.
"The continuation of the 'Pat Quinn for U.S. Senate' fund, 14 years after his Senate race was done, is unusual even in the heard-it-all world of campaign finance."
"Quinn has kept the fund alive by pumping in a series of personal loans and then soliciting political donations so he can pay himself back, at interest rates approaching 10 percent. The end result is that Quinn has made at least $24,000 in interest from the campaign fund he controls, according to documents filed with the Federal Election Commission."
"Quinn spokeswoman Elizabeth Austin said Quinn first began extending loans to his campaign in 1996 and at that time believed federal law required him to be paid back in full with interest.
"But a spokesman for the FEC told the Tribune there are no such requirements. Austin said Quinn aides checked with the FEC after the newspaper raised questions about the interpretation of the law and found that Quinn's fund did not have to pay him interest."
So for 14 years Quinn has been making money off his old U.S. Senate fund. He's a helluva banker! Can he do the same thing for the state?
"Quinn has raised money for the Senate fund in fits and starts while seeking other offices. The bulk of his fundraising - more than $70,000 - came after he was elected lieutenant governor in 2002."
Well, that's just a concidence.
"Shortly after he became governor last year, Quinn raised more than $19,000 for the Senate fund."
Well, that's just a coincidence.
"Over half came from an April fundraiser sponsored by the chairman of a private investment firm whose co-founder was recently named to a key state finance post by Quinn."
Well, that's just a coincidence.
"With the Senate fund then replenished, it made more payments to Quinn."
"In all, Quinn has poured $53,650 in personal loans into the fund, all but $7,000 of which came after his 1996 Senate defeat. Meanwhile, principal and interest payments from the fund to Quinn over the years have totaled at least $77,976 - a 45 percent return over the face value of the loans."
Not so incompetent after all!
"'(That's) a pretty good return on investment, especially in this economy,' said Paul Ryan, a campaign finance expert with The Campaign Legal Center in Washington. 'Given that he's entirely in control of this situation, it's a pretty safe investment.'"
"Quinn said it was 'ridiculous' to suggest he made money from his Senate campaign fund."
After all, this is Illinois, where the people are good and true. We are the envy of the nation.
"In his initial response to questions about the Senate fund, Quinn, a tax lawyer and former state treasurer, said he understood the FEC rules to require the interest payments. 'That's the rule they have, I follow the rule,' he said. 'I try my whole life to follow rules.'
"That is not what the law says, according to FEC spokesman Christian Hilland. 'A candidate is not required to charge his or her committee an interest rate,' Hilland explained. 'The candidate has the option of just forgiving the loan.'"
You can't follow the rules if you don't know them. Though it's hard to believe he didn't know them being a tax lawyer and former state treasurer. Yes, by all means let's elect this man governor.
"The Senate fund never had a better fundraising quarter than it did last spring after Quinn replaced the ousted Rod Blagojevich as governor."
"A little more than half the money came from an April fundraiser held at the home of the chairman of Cardinal Growth, a Chicago-based private equity firm."
C'mon, Tribune! What's your point?
"In December, another Cardinal executive, co-founder Joseph McInerney, was named by Quinn to the board of the Illinois Finance Authority, a state agency that oversees billions of dollars in loans and investments for Illinois businesses and non-profit organizations.
"McInerney was not among the donors to Quinn in April, but he has given to Quinn in the past, records show. Quinn said McInerney's appointment had nothing to do with the fundraiser.
"'I have known Joe McInerney for some time and I have never in my whole public life ever traded anything - any appointment, anything - for any kind of donation,' Quinn said."
That would be against the rules. As far as he knows.
"Conjugal visits are banned by the Illinois Department of Corrections and in the federal prison system, but they're permitted in six states: California, Connecticut, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York and Washington. And in 2007, California began allowing same-sex conjugal visits."
I did not know that.
Unasked and unanswered: Why do most states - including Illinois - ban conjugal visits?
Something I would think Illinois pols would get behind; you know, thinking about their future.
The Bulls' Midwinter Mirage
"But do me a favor: Don't see this as anything more than what it really is. It's all about next July, not now."
The Beachwood Tip Line: Good and true.
Posted on January 27, 2010
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