IL-14: Who’s Buying?

So now it’s about time for the other IL-14 candidates to start grumbling about the millionaires in their midst, Jim Oberweis and Bill Foster, and the “buying” of a Congressional seat. After a thorough read of the latest Federal Election Commission financial filings, it is evident to me that the charge has to be based on more than just one’s bank statement.

Consider these fundraising numbers for the 3rd quarter:

  • Burns: unitemized receipts of over $9,600; itemized receipts from about 80 unique donors.
  • Foster: unitemized receipts of over $38,700; itemized receipts from about 275 unique donors.
  • Laesch: unitemized receipts of $19,250; itemized receipts from about 90 unique donors.
  • Lauzen: unitemized receipts not quite $5,400; itemized receipts from about 100 unique donors.
  • Oberweis: unitemized receipts of $2,200; itemized receipts from about 50 unique donors.
  • Stein: unitemized receipts over $11,800; itemized receipts from about 85 unique donors.
  • Unitemized contributions are small contributions that don’t meet the threshold for separate reporting ($200 or less per individual or group per calendar year). They are considered a measure of popular support. Large numbers of so-called “small donors” can be an advantage because the candidate can go back to them again and again up to a limit of $2300 per candidate, per election. As you can see, Foster is that guy; his campaign claims more than 650 total donors at an average of $315 per donation, including 204 donors who each gave $14. In contrast, campaigns with a few “large donors,” such as Lauzen’s, have already reached some donor limits.

    Also this is probably a year when the “Millionaires’ Amendment” kicks in. As soon as a House candidate spends $350,000 of his own money, mechanisms for leveling the playing field, such as raised contribution limits, can kick in for eligible opponents and would apply in the primary and in the general.

    Disclosure: I’m knocking on doors for Bill Foster.