September 14, 2013
Listed below are the 20 biggest recipients in Illinois state government from 2002 to 2012 of campaign contributions from major union political action committees. The numbers are from Followthemoney.org and ILReference.com, and the compilation was recently published by the Illinois Policy Institute in The Labor Book. They analyzed the 100 largest recipients who collected in total about $25 millions from the PACs. PAC campaign contributions aren’t the only source of union money influence over government, but they do provide a pretty good barometer of where unions buy influence.
Democrats and the usual suspects dominate, but there are notable Republicans on it. Governor Pat Quin, Blago, House Speaker Mike Madigan and Attorney General Lisa Madigan are high on the list, as expected. Interestingly, Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride is also up there, though he’s better known for massive contributions from trial lawyers.
Still, Republicans among the top 100 recipients took about 19% of the total. Notables include outgoing House Minority Leader Tom Cross and Senator Kirk Dillard, now running for Governor. Most surprising is that Dillard’s union PAC receipts outpaced even Democratic Senator John Cullerton, who is widely seen as the leading union supporter and a major obstacle to real pension reform.
Abbreviations: AFSCME-American Federation of State, County, Municipal Employees; IEA-Illinois Education Association; IFT-Illinois Federation of Teachers; CTU-Chicago Teachers Union; SEIU-Service Employees International Union.