Biss rejects voluntary campaign fund donation; Senate nixes his mandatory one
Sen. Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) suggested a voluntary campaign donation system in lieu of Sen. Daniel Biss’ (D-Evanston) publicly funded matching proposal on Thursday.
After Biss demurred, he saw his bill lose in a Senate vote.
McConchie had argued that now is not the time to ask taxpayers to help pay for political campaigns.
“Given our fiscal situation — $6 billion currently overspending; we don’t know how it is that we are going to be able to balance our books, and so forth — what about a system similar to what our federal government has,” McConchie said. “I recently did my taxes, and there was a little check box at the top in which I could contribute to the presidential campaign fund, and out of that, those funds are made available for people under particular circumstances, but it was completely voluntary. Would you consider a voluntary system like this instead of this involuntary system that you have here?”
Biss, who has announced that he will run for governor in 2018, replied that history has shown that a voluntary system won’t work. He said the Senate should instead consider what has led Illinois to its fiscal misery.
“I would peel back the layers of the onions a little bit and ask us why we can’t afford anything right now, and ask who has been pulling the strings when it comes to designing our revenue system, and who has been pulling the strings that result in the kinds of decision that gets made around here,” Biss said. “I think that if we were to fix that question, we would have a significantly beneficial impact on our state’s bottom line.”
SB1424 would a create system in which candidates would be required to limit their contributions in exchange for getting their “small contributions matched to a six to one level,” according to Biss.
McConchie said that while he would be willing to discuss alternatives, he would vote against the bill.
“Obviously, we do have a financial situation here,” McConchie said. “There are many things we can’t afford. I would be interested in talking about a voluntary system that people would decide to get into, but your out-of-hand dismissal of that really makes me question what really the ultimate purpose of this is, so I will encourage a 'no' vote.”
SB1424 failed to pass by one vote. Biss requested a postponed consideration.