A fundraising appeal to federal prosecutors has become a campaign issue in the Illinois Senate race.
Among the candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to fill President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat is former federal prosecutor David H. Hoffman. Hoffman, who is running on an anti-corruption platform, has sought campaign donations from his former colleagues in the Northern District of Illinois U.S. Attorney office.
Because prosecutors don’t earn the big bucks, Hoffman suggested a modest donation of $150 in this fundraising event flier. But one of his challengers had found reason to complain — not because the prosecutors are giving too much, but because they are asked to give too little.
Illinois state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias has pointed out that donations of less than $200 do not require the donor to report his or her name and employer to the Federal Election Commission, The Huffington Post reported.
Giannoulias then accused Hoffman, a former inspector general for the City of Chicago, of not being transparent.
Giannoulias wants Hoffman to cancel the fundraiser and return any donations he has received from current prosecutors. Giannoulias campaign manager Tom Bowen said in a statement: “The last thing the Illinois culture of corruption needs is political candidates soliciting the lead agency responsible for investigating corruption.” He added: “If we are going to be serious about reform, we have to act seriously. Hoffman should cancel the fundraiser, refuse money from current federal prosecutors and refuse to take contributions from employees of the U.S. Attorney’s office.”
Hoffman spokesman Thom Karmik released the following statement:
“Alexi Giannoulias just retired the award for political hypocrisy. For months, he’s been trumpeting the lie that he’s emulating Barack Obama’s ethical standards by not taking corporate PAC money. But Obama swore off all PAC money in his presidential campaign. By taking thousands of dollars in non-corporate PAC money, Alexi’s failed to meet Obama’s standard while trying to fool the voters.
“Among Alexi’s latest PAC contributions is one from the Community Bankers Association. That association is leading the fight in Washington against President Obama’s efforts to pass tougher financial regulations to protect consumers. Instead of throwing stones from his glass house, Alexi ought to return that contribution.
“And while he’s at it, he can reveal for the first time how many millions of dollars in dividends he took out of his family bank while its loans were failing and the FDIC put it on its “watch list.” Perhaps that’s why he’s refusing David’s challenge to release his tax returns for the past five years – another standard Barack Obama set that Alexi’s refused to honor.”