Mayor's Friends Prove Exception To The Rules
Yesterday Chicagoist wondered how organizations like the Hispanic Democratic Organization might play into Mayor Richard M. Daley's new campaign contribution restrictions. The Chicago Tribune learned the answer: HDO and other political committees will face no limitations.
The upshot is that while city contractors will now be limited from making direct contributions to the mayor's campaign committee, contractors now have a green light to make contributions to Daley sponsored political committees like HDO, the Coalition for Better Government, and the 11th Ward Democratic Party, which is operated by Daley brother John P. Daley.
These groups, which already act as extensions of the Mayor's organization, and only support candidates clearly friendly to the Mayor, will be free to make unlimited fund transfers to the Mayor's campaign coffers. So, in the unlikely event that his campaign needs more cash, these groups can give the Mayor's campaign money when he needs it, or just buy whatever he needs on his behalf.
In fairness, this is a well-worn tactic used by many politicians, from Alderman up to President. As president, Bill Clinton not only raised money for his own campaign, but also for the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Leadership Committee, a group he once led. U.S. Senators often maintain their campaign fund as well as a "leadership political action committee". Senior Illinois Senator Dick Durbin operates Prairie PAC, which raised $820,000 last year, and new Illinois Senator Barack Obama launched The Hope Fund.
Speaking of the 11th Ward, the Sun-Times found that Local Chicago Color, John "Quarters" Boyle, has been telling trucking companies that unless they make contributions to the 11th Ward Democrats, they won't get any Hired Truck contracts. The Feds are already on it.