Illinois Cleans Up Politics – Sort Of

     SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) – After having its last two governors arrested on federal corruption charges, Illinois passed its first campaign contribution limits bill. The bill limits individual contributions to $5,000 per donor per year and PAC donation to $10,000. Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign it though critics call the bill weak.

     The critics claim the bill does nothing to rein in the power of legislative leaders and point out that though it limits transfers between politicians to $90,000 a year, it does not limit in-kind contributions. In-kind contributions are spent directly in support of candidates, which can include workers and television ads.
     Critics wanted a measure closer to federal regulations, which are about half as high as those approved in Illinois’ bill. The House passed the bill 64-46-8.
     The limits will take effect in January 2011.
     The bill’s backers say enforcing the limits immediately would create a competitive disadvantage for some candidates in the November 2010 election.
     The state has received several black eyes from high-profile gubernatorial corruption cases. Republican ex-Gov. George Ryan is serving a federal prison term for crimes relating to obtaining campaign contributions. Ryan’s successor, Democrat Rod Blagojevich, was impeached and removed from office this year after being arrested on charges of trying to extort campaign contributions.

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