As expected, Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed HB 7
this afternoon, the campaign finance bill the General Assembly passed
this May. While Quinn testified in favor of the bill earlier in the
year, even calling it "historic," he emphasized today that he always considered the ...
As expected, Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed HB 7 this afternoon, the campaign finance bill the General Assembly passed this May. While Quinn testified in favor of the bill earlier in the year, even calling it "historic," he emphasized today that he always considered the bill imperfect. After good government groups, editorial boards, and other lawmakers aired out the legislation's major deficiencies, Quinn says October's veto session presents an opportunity for lawmakers to "go back and do it right."
All four legislative leaders attended the press conference and praised the governor's decision, but none provided specific examples of what portions of the law they'd like to see improved. Senate President John Cullerton came the closest, explaining that he and Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) have been talking with the CHANGE coalition (who endorsed the veto) about how best to close the loopholes on campaign contribution limits and enforcement. But Cullerton hedged on the details, telling the reporters that "I don't think we should negotiate here."
What's wrong with the bill? Plenty. Our post in May ran down many of the major problems, the most egregious being that contributions would be capped on an annual basis rather than by election cycle. Also, HB 7 did nothing to prohibit in-kind contributions by leadership committees and state parties. For more, check out the detailed series of criticisms over at the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform's blog.
Another concern of some unions and advocacy organizations that hasn't received as much attention is the bill's definition of "natural person." As written currently, the term seems to refer to individual donors. That could be important because HB 7 prohibits Section 527 organizations or PACs from running an independently-funded campaign but places no similar limits on wealthy individuals.
We will be sure to follow the negotiations as they unfold.