Here's How Illinois Politicians Can Wage Campaign Cash Proxy Wars

In 2011, lawmakers passed the state's first-ever Illinois campaign contribution limit law. It was a direct reaction to the pay-to-play scandals revealed in the trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Full details of the law are listed on the Illinois State Board of Elections website, but the most basic limits are as follows:

Candidate Political Committee:

  • $5,400 from an individual (excluding immediate family members)
  • $10,800 from a corporation, labor organization or association
  • $53,900 from a Candidate Political Committee or Political Action Committee
Unlimited from a Political Party Committee during a General or Consolidated Election cycle

Unlimited from a Political Party Committee during a Primary Election cycle in which the candidate does not seek nomination at a Primary Election

But once the money is in the system, candidates and party leaders can share with each other with almost no limits. That's why it's worth your attention that Gov. Bruce Rauner has $19.6 million in his Citizens for Rauner campaign fund and House Speaker Michael Madigan, thanks to a burst of fundraising in December, has $9.1 million in four campaign funds he controls.

In the 2016 legislative elections, you can expect to see loads of money flow from Rauner to Republican House and Senate candidates and likewise from funds controlled by Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton to Democrats.

On this week's "Only in Illinois," we explain how party leaders can wage very expensive proxy wars as they pass large sums into the campaign funds of candidates they support.

You can watch the full video here.