By Mark Weyermuller -
Most agree that rules and laws should be followed. Illinois has some complex election laws that are to keep elections honest, while keeping everybody on an even playing field. In my area, there is a group of "Wilmette Friends" that are not happy about contested elections in New Trier Township. They have been really aggressive in their campaigning. I am fed up with their antics, so I objected.
As a homeowner in New Trier Township, I have been concerned about the ever increasing levies on my tax bill, which now includes 16 different government agencies getting money from my taxes on my home.
The upcoming April 4, 2017 local elections include races for several positions on the New Trier Township Board - no connection with New Trier High School in Winnetka. Townships were started over 125 years ago when villages, towns, and the county were not organized as a government unit to fix roads and some limited tax assessments. New Trier Township has evolved into a group funding multiple social service agencies, with the township demanding large administration costs. Some say higher than most not for profit organizations. Some new independent leadership may be necessary to get the township running more efficiently at lower costs and, of course, lower taxes.
This week I filed a complaint with the Illinois State Board of Elections, asking them to investigate how a campaign may electioneer without registering as a political entity. Here is a clip from the complaint:
Illinois Election Law provides for a complaint process, titled a D-4 to bring violations of the campaign disclosure act to the attention of the State Board of Elections. A D-4 was filed today by lawyer Dan Kelley with the Illinois State Board of Elections representing Wilmette Resident Mark Weyermuller in a complaint against the ‘Wilmette Friends’ who are engaging in electioneering without registering as a political organization with the State of Illinois.
Specifically, the complaint notes that the Wilmette Friends has coordinated and paid for political consultants, yard signs, mailers, websites, and handbills while neglecting to register with the State, specifically no D-1 Statement of organization form, identifying themselves as a PAC.
More significantly, the Wilmette Friends have also solicited contributions without designating a committee treasurer responsible for recording keeping and financial reporting in clear violation of the Illinois Election Code. The law says no committee may accept anonymous contributions or accept contributions when there is a vacancy in the office of the committee treasurer.
While at the same time the Wilmette Friends have been vigorously campaigning against the imagined influence of outside forces in New Trier politics, decrying the thought that a PAC (the just-barely-organized New Trier Coalition, with minimal assets and no expenditures, per their transparent filings) may have been organized to recruit and promote candidates un-approved by the New Trier Caucus. Under the campaign disclosure laws, political action committees are obligated to register and comply with record keeping and financial reporting requirements of the Election Code (as administered by the Illinois State Board of Elections) after reaching a $5,000.00 threshold in funds received or expended.
I hope the State Board of Elections steps up the enforcement here. Contested elections are really important for democracy. The local elections are Tuesday, April 4, 2017 with early voting taking place now.
Mark Weyermuller is a small business person, real estate professional, and conservative activist in Chicago. He is a citizen journalist and regular contributor to Illinois Review. Mark can be heard weekly on the radio in a "man on the street segment" at 10:31pm as a regular guest on the Stephanie Trussell Show heard Sunday nights 9pm-midnight on WLS 890-AM.