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House candidates back contribution limits

Candidates running for the state house from Evanston say they will support legislation to rein in Illinois’ political pay-to-play culture.


Candidates running for the state house from Evanston say they will support legislation to rein in Illinois’ political pay-to-play culture.

Candidates Jeff Smith and Eamon Kelly say they support capping campaign contributions.

The state legislature pursued caps earlier this year. It passed in June a bill that caps contributions from individuals and organizations, though not as low as the federal limits.

The bill has not been signed by the governor and drew fire from reform groups for not matching federal limits, which cap individual contributions at $2,400 and committee, union and business contributions at $5,000.

Supporters retorted that these lower limits would spur an even greater frenzy of campaigning.

Smith says he isn’t going to accept any contributions greater than the federal limits.

Candidate Patrick Kennan-Devlin says he doesn’t expect candidates in this district to receive individual contributions around even $2,300.

Since Julie Hamos first became a state representative in 1999, she received a total of 22 individual contributions greater than $2,400 through six elections, according to state campaign disclosure records.

Kennan-Devlin says the state state should adopt a public financing system whereby candidates must attain a certain level of small individual donations before receiving a lump sum from the state.

Kennan-Devlin’s proposal would be similar to the public financing systems used in Arizona, Maine and Connecticut.

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