Why the Fair Elections Ballot Question? Report on Extreme Influence of Big Money in Mayor’s Race Leaves No Doubt

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

The need for Chicago’s Fair Elections ballot question was underscored by a new report detailing the outrageous number of large contributions coming from donors outside Chicago to the city’s mayoral candidates.

The Illinois PIRG Education Fund’s report found that big donations completely eclipse small donations to the five mayoral campaigns. Contributions greater than $1,000 account for more than 86 percent of the money contributed to the five Chicago mayoral candidates, while less than two percent of the money contributed comes from contributions of less than $150. What’s more, the top two donors gave more than all of the at least 1,601 small donors combined.

Not only are large donations almost entirely funding the five mayoral campaigns, but just over half (52 percent) of the contributions are from people who do not even live in Chicago. Out-of-city influence also grows with the size of the donation: 60 percent of the money was from donors who gave $25,000 or more, 80 percent of the money was from donors who gave $80,000 or more.

The Illinois PIRG Education Fund reports that the analysis examined contributions to the five mayoral candidates between 2011 and December 31st, 2014, the end of the last quarterly report. A significant amount of money has been contributed since then, which Illinois PIRG Education Fund will analyze once the campaigns and campaign reports are completed.

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