Is the sky the limit for Illinois campaign contributions?

Oct 06, 2016

Here is the weekly update on campaign spending from the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform’s Illinois Sunshine database as of Oct. 6, 2016. For complete information on campaign finance updated daily, visit

What happened this week?

Last week, contribution limits in the Illinois State Comptroller’s race were removed due to a large donation from Comptroller Munger’s husband. Not long after the news broke, the Comptroller’s race shot up to the top spot on ICPR’s list of the 10 most expensive Contested State Races. Shortly after, Munger received a $3 million donation from mega-donor Ken Griffin. Needless to say, this donation was the largest of the past week. In fact, that single donation was larger than the total amount of money in any other race in the entire state. Munger also received $2 million from Dick Uihlein earlier last week, for a total of $5 million in just a few days.

Comptroller Munger didn’t hold on to the money for long. On Thursday, Munger’s committee transferred $1 million to the Illinois Republican Party. Governor Rauner’s candidate committee also transferred $900,000 to the Illinois GOP that day. The Party then promptly transferred $900,000 to the House Republican Organization and $375,000 to the Republican State Senate Campaign Committee. Those committees have dispersed the funds to various Republican candidates in top tier races. Just yesterday, Munger transferred $2 million more to the Illinois Republican Party. There are no limits on transfers between Candidate Committees and Political Party Committees during a General Election, so Munger is able to collect contributions and funnel them back to the party freely.

Yesterday, more news broke showing another avenue for receiving large donations from individual donors. Scott Kennedy at Illinois Election Data found that the contribution limits had been lifted on Republican House Leader Jim Durkin’s race, even though Durkin does not have a challenger. State Board of Elections records show that the limits were released after more than $100,000 was spent independently on radio ads supporting the Republican Leader by Turnaround Illinois, a SuperPAC supported by the Governor. Leader Durkin is now able to fundraise freely and transfer unlimited funds to any Political Party committee. These outlets for large donors are creating a new political landscape with unprecedented spending at the state level. After the election, ICPR plans to discuss the significance of this spending increase and its impact on state politics.

For more information, contact Sarah Brune at (312) 436-1274 or

Top Contested State Races

Races for the Illinois General Assembly and State Comptroller (ranked by most available funds, independent expenditures and donations since July 1, 2016. 

ICPR Oct. 6


Largest Donations

Sept. 29 – Oct. 6

ICPR Oct. 6 Chart 2

Largest Transfers

Sept. 29 – Oct. 6

ICPR Oct. 6 Chart 3

Top Earners

Sept. 29 – Oct. 6

ICPR Oct. 6 Chart 4

Go to for the latest updates in Illinois campaign finance.


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