Conflict of Interest No. 12,498


In the February 24 article, “No Race in DeKalb’s 5th Ward” I decried the Illinois campaign laws that could be used to get a person kicked off the ballot for not much more than forgetting to cross a “t.” In my opinion only out-and-out fraud, such as forgery, should get a person tossed off the ballot.

Wilson blames two-thirds of the local election board, comprised of the mayor, city clerk and the 3rd Ward alderman (who voted in Wilson’s favor) for supporting perfect paperwork over competitive races. He’s got a point but the real culprits here are the cumbersome Illinois candidacy requirements and the shameless way they can be exploited by an experienced opposition, especially an incumbent candidate.

The reason that the local election board made a determination is that Wilson’s nominating petitions did not have to be perfect. The wording of the applicable state statute reads:

The name of no candidate for nomination…shall be printed upon the primary ballot unless a petition for nomination has been filed in his behalf as provided in this Article in substantially the following form: [Emphasis added.]

So there was some discretion involved. The board did not have to vote the way it did. I’ve wondered why Mayor Van Buer, who strikes me as someone who would support the spirit of the law and a true contest, voted against Wilson. Then this week I was tipped off to a stunning (to me, anyway) conflict of interest.

Gavin Wilson would have run against Ron Naylor, the other 5th Ward candidate who then cake-walked his way onto the City Council.

So guess who is the treasurer of the Van Buer for DeKalb campaign committee? Go on, look. I dare ya.

Why didn’t he recuse himself? Crikey. Had he no idea how that would LOOK?!

So, just as Roger Hopkin’s dual role as exec of both the DCEDC and the I-39 Logistics corridor makes me wonder about how hard he is working to get something besides warehousing into town, and just as Bob Pritchard’s acceptance of contributions from Cavel International make me ponder his motivation in supporting that business, now I must worry about the same types of conflict of interest in our mayor. A man I not only voted for, but for whom I pounded the pavement two years ago.

But probably will not do again.