State probes dark money in re-election of controversy-plagued County Commissioner Sean Morrison
Some $300,000 in money from a dark PAC set up to fight Illinois tax hikes made its way into the campaign coffers of beleaguered Cook County Commissioner and Failed Cook County Republican Party boss Sean Morrison. The Illinois Election Board is investigating complaints the transfer of the funding to Morrison’s cook county re-election bid November 8, 2022 is improper. A state hearing set for Dec. 20, 2022.
By Ray Hanania
Crains Chicago Business this week broke the news that Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison used campaign funds originally donated to fight Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s tax lies to instead fund his re-election bid on November 8. and that the Illinois Election Board is investigating.
The Election Board wants to know how money donated by Republican billionaire Ken Griffin to fight Pritzker’s tax hikes ended up in Morrison’s campaign fund through another Dark Money PAC, the “Coalition to Cut Taxes” set up to fight an election referendum that had ended.
It’s another dark spot for Morrison on a record plagued by several serious controversies. Morrison defended a sex predator who worked for his security company, and got special police protection at taxpayer expense for his home from the Palos Park Police Department.
As the head of the Cook County GOP, Morrison helped slate a bunch of Republican candidates whose filings had so many errors they were easily forced off the ballot.
Morrison is an ongoing embarrassment for Cook County Republicans.
Democrat Dan Calandriello lost because Morrison pummeled voters with expensive mailers filled with so much mud, lies and exaggerations that Calandriello couldn’t respond. Morrison also slammed voters with false text messages, robocalls and Cable TV campaign Ads.
This latest controversy surfaced when Orland Park resident and well-known campaign sleuth Michael Henry filed several complaints against Morrison’s committee with the Illinois Election Board.
The first alleges Morrison received $300,000 from the Dark Money PAC, the “Coalition to Cut Taxes.” Henry argues it is illegal to transfer money from a non-filed Political Committee set up to fight a ballot initiative and put the money into another political committee. The State Election Board will decide that.
Campaign disclosures are intended to allow the public to see who is funding candidates. That information is critical for voters to decide who to support. The transfers took place improperly from the PAC, Henry says, and were made after the ballot initiative was over.
It’s unfortunate voters did not know that information before casting their vote for Morrison, who almost lost his seat in 2018 to an unknown candidate.
Morrison is not only an embarrassment to the Cook County GOP, but an embarrassment to the voters. He is an extremist who can’t work with anyone, and he gets nothing done.
If Morrison cared about the Republican Party or election law, he would resign from office immediately.
Crains quotes Griffin’s spokesman, Zia Ahmed, who released a statement saying, “Ken has not made or directed any political contributions in Illinois since he left the state in June, and his earlier contributions complied with the law.”
Crains also quoted Reform for Illinois executive director Alisa Kaplan who reacted with a stinging rebuke, saying, “It shouldn’t be this hard for people to see who is paying to influence them or to get officials elected. We make someone who contributes $150 to a campaign give their name, but finding out who gave $300,000 through channels like these requires Sherlock Holmes and still often leads to a dead end… Other states like California have adopted laws to address these situations, and Illinois should too.”
THE POLITICAL GRAPEVINE: Condolences to the family of Tim Degnan who passed away last week. Degnan was the real brains of the administration of Mayor Richard M. Daley. While Daley didn’t mind backstabbing his supporters, left and right, Degnan did everything he could to bring people together. He was an honest man who did good for the City of Chicago and should be remembered. He did the hard work. … Must read columnist Shia Kapos reports in her Illinois Playbook column that Chicago Ald. Edward M. Burke, who has done so much for the Southwest Side of the City and the 14th Ward, did not file signatures to seek re-election last week. Instead, Burke is backing Raul Reyes who will face-off with a candidate backed by Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia who seems intent on running for every office under the sun including Chicago Mayor. Chuy’s candidacy for mayor will only help beleaguered Mayor Lori Lightfoot block a challenge from Dr. Willie Wilson. … State Rep. Cyril Nichols gets kudos for working hard to support voters in his diverse district which stretches from Chicago to Bridgeview.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter. A political analyst and CEO of Urban Strategies Group, Hanania’s opinion columns on mainstream issues are published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. His Middle East columns are published in the Arab News. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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