According to a recent news report in the popular West Suburban Journal, West Side Alderman Ed Smith is about to be investigated. Nicole Trottie wrote:
(CHICAGO) – The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR) has appealed to the State Board of Elections (SBE) to investigate the campaign committees of alderman Ed Smith, according to a press release from the political watch dog group.
The campaign fundraising committees supporting the re-election of Smith appear to have violated state campaign finance laws through a series of inaccurate and incomplete contribution and expenditure reports filed with the SBE.
“There is evidence that these two committees have failed to file complete and accurate reports of contributions and expenditures since at least 2005,” Cynthia Canary, ICPR Director said Monday.
“Because Illinois law has few restrictions on campaign fundraising, it is imperative that action be taken by the state board charged with enforcing public disclosure of campaign financing.” “Defenders of the state’s scandal-ridden political financing system argue that public disclosure of campaign contributors and expenditures is all that is needed to protect state government from undue influence by special interests, but a public disclosure system without enforcement, like the
one in Illinois, is an invitation to corruption,” Canary said. “At a minimum, let’s have full disclosure, strong enforcement and stiff penalties against those who willfully violate the laws.”
The complaint against the Committee for Smith, which funds his re-election campaigns for alderman and for Democratic Party committeeman from the 28th Ward, includes the following findings:
Smith was engaged in a 2007 re-election campaign with an opponent who reported more than $12,000 in expenditures and more than $5,000 in in-kind donations. However, Smith’s committee reported it did not receive any contributions and did not make any expenditures between July 1,2006 and Dec. 31, 2007.
On several occasions from 2005 through 2007, other political committees disclosed the transfer of a total of more than $20,000 to Smith’s committee, but Smith’s committee did not disclose receiving those funds. Other committees also reported receiving checks from the Smith campaign, but Smith’s committee did not disclose those expenditures.
Some of the reports filed with the SBE by the Smith committee signified sloppy accounting and disregard for meaningful campaign disclosure, according to ICPR. For example, one of the Smith committee’s reports showed $19,500 in receipts and no expenditures for the last six months of 2004. More than six months later, the committee submitted an amended document reporting an additional $42,700 in contributions received and more than $18,000 in expenditures.
Smith ran uneventfully against Cook County Recorder Eugene “Gene” Moore in the Feb. 5
Primary. Controversy surfaced around Smith’s campaign when Journal – News first reported, Jan.
17, Smith’s campaign use of public resources for political activities. Smith’s campaign base setup in the office building of state representative Karen Yarbrough (Maywood) and Congressman Danny Davis.
The office, located at 2301-2305 Roosevelt Rd. in Broadview, is owned by the Village of Broadview and provided rent free for several years to Yarbrough and Davis by Republican Broadview Mayor Henry Vicenik, according to information received by Journal – News under the Freedom of Information Act.
Yarbrough, who unseated Moore as Proviso Township Democratic Committee-man in November 2006, was Smith’s campaign co-chair in the primary election.
Maywood Village Manager, Jason Ervin is on record as Smith’s campaign committee treasure. Ervin also serves as Yarbrough’s committee treasurer.