With playoff baseball in Chicago and a critical election just around the corner an examination of Illinois Board of Elections campaign reports by USofArn.com shows that the states two most powerful legislative leaders Speaker Michael Madigan(D-Chicago) and Senate President John Cullerton(D-Chicago) have spent a combined $3.5 million from their campaign funds to purchase season tickets for the Chicago Cubs, Bulls, and White Sox dating back to 1999. They are the only two lawmakers to make such purchases according to state records.
Michael Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown told USofArn that the Speaker used some of those tickets to attend games with his friends and family, which includes his daughter Lisa Madigan the states Attorney General. Despite multiple attempts Mr. Brown hasn’t responded any further to questions about Speaker Madigan’s campaign spending(Which includes how and why he spent more than $700 at a Springfield Family Video for internet service from 1999-2003 when they’ve never offered that service).
Chicago residents learned earlier in the MLB post season that Chicago politicians were given special access to Cubs playoff tickets as they try to break the teams 108 year World Series curse.
In the last decade and a half, using a combination of his Friends of Michael Madigan and 13th Democratic Ward campaign funds Madigan has shelled out $1.25 million for Cubs tickets, including post season tickets in previous years, over $933,000 for White Sox season tickets, playoff tickets, and all-star game tickets, and another $423,610 for Bulls season tickets. There were also $23,000 in unspecified season ticket purchases by Madigan to the University of Notre Dame, which for the geography challenged is in Indiana, not Illinois. Just in the latest 3rd quarter report Madigan used more than $42,000 in campaign funds to purchase Cubs tickets.
John Cullerton, who became President of the Illinois Senate in 2009, used more than $418,000 from his campaign fund for Cubs tickets, over $300,000 for White Sox tickets, and another $178,954 for Bulls tickets from the first quarter of this year going back to 1999.
Campaign records also show that in the Summer of 2004 Michael Madigan bought nearly $500 worth of White Sox tickets off of team owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who also owns the Chicago Bulls.
Records also show Sen. Cullerton used over $18,000 in campaign funds for unspecified tickets from Stub Hub, plus another $7,000 for more unspecified tickets from other ticket vendors, to go along with nearly $8,000 worth of Chicago Bears tickets and over $10,000 in unnamed event tickets at the United Center.
One Illinois lawmaker who wished anonymity couldn’t stop laughing at how brazen Madigan and Cullerton were with this misuse of campaign funds especially given the ongoing campaign spending scandal involving Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino, who spent 24 years in the state legislature as a top Madigan lieutenant. Mautino is under state and federal investigation for half a million dollars in questionable spending at his home town gas station and bank.
It is supposed to be against Illinois campaign spending law(s) for a politician to use their campaign funds for personal gain.
*Cross posted from USofArn.com