Share the article: ICYMI: Billionaire Gov. J.B. Pritzker Uses Trust to Skirt his Own Contribution Limits

Safe-T Act’s future could be decided by two judges whose campaigns received millions from elected officials of two coequal branches of government with a vested interest in the failed law’s future

Billionaire Governor J.B. Pritzker is using a trust to skirt campaign contribution limits, that he signed into law, in an effort to influence two tight Supreme Court races. From the Chicago Tribune yesterday:

“Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker is using his personal trust fund to circumvent contribution limits in two races that will determine whether his party maintains its 4-3 majority on the Illinois Supreme Court.

Pritzker earlier this year signed into law a measure that limits contributions to a judicial candidate campaign from “any single person” to $500,000.

In September, Pritzker’s campaign fund, JB for Governor, contributed $500,000 each to the campaigns of Democrats Elizabeth Rochford and Mary Kay O’Brien, who are running for two open seats on the high court. 

Last week, the billionaire entrepreneur and Hyatt Hotels heir dipped into a trust fund called the Jay Robert Pritzker Revocable Trust, to give the Democrat Supreme Court candidate’s campaigns another $500,000 each, state campaign finance records show.

The Illinois State Board of Elections historically has treated trusts as separate entities for the purpose of enforcing contribution limits, spokesperson Matt Dietrich said.”

Meanwhile, the ILGOP held a press conference yesterday in Chicago at which two former prosecutors and a former appellate justice criticized the unprecedented judicial campaign contributions by Governor Pritzker, House Speaker Welch, Senate President Harmon, and other Democrat legislators.

Especially troubling is that Pritzker, Welch, and Harmon’s money could ultimately influence future Supreme Court rulings on the constitutionality of the SAFE-T Act – Pritzker, Harmon, and Welch’s signature legislation that will end cash bail across Illinois on January 1st. 

“Our three branches of government are designed to serve as checks and balances on each other,” said former Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon. “Unfortunately, the multi-million dollar bankroll from the governor and the leaders of the General Assembly serve to skew that balance and are a disservice to the people of Illinois in the Second and Third Districts especially.”

58 Democratic and Republican State’s Attorneys have filed suit against Governor Pritzker and others over the constitutionality of the legislation. The plaintiffs were granted a motion to consolidate into one suit – Rowe v Raoul – which could make its way to the Illinois Supreme Court to ultimately decide its fate. 

The outcome of the case, and the law’s future, could very well be decided by two judges whose campaigns accepted millions from elected officials of two coequal branches of government with a vested interest in the decision.


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