Ban Pay to Play Politics

Ban All Campaign Contributions from Companies and People Doing Business with Chicago

Daley’s Executive Order Doesn’t Work

In 2005 Daley issued an executive order banning campaign contributions from city contractors, executives, and spouses of executives who work for companies doing business with the city. At the time, according to the “Chicago Sun Times” about $1 million of Daley’s $3 million campaign funds came from city contractors.

When Daley’s former Water Department Deputy Commissioner and enforcer Donald Tomczak pled guilty, Tomczak said he shook down city contractors for $300,000 in campaign contributions. Some of Tomczak’s dirty money ended up in Daley’s campaign war chest.

From 1996 to 2005, the “Chicago Sun Times” reported that 165 trucking firms contributed $108,575 to Daley. The trucking firms also donated $47,525 to his brother, Cook County Commissioner and 11th Ward Democratic Committeeman John P. Daley. Many of the trucking companies donating money to Daley were involved in Chicago’s $40 million a year Hired Truck scandal. Chicago taxpayers foot the bill for the HIred Truck companies who did little or no work.

As with their father, former mayor Richard J. Daley, John P. and Richard M. rely on the 11th Ward Democratic office to keep their political careers going. One-fourth of the Hired Truck contracts went to firms whose offices were based in the Daleys’ 11th Ward home turf. In return for plum city contracts, the trucking companies contributed campaign donations to the Daleys.

Daley has violated his own executive order numerous times. The $108,575 from 165 trucking companies is pocket change compared to the sizable campaign donations Daley accepted from other companies and people doing business with the city. Patrick Ryan listed himeself as “Aon Chairman” when he donated $100,000.00 to Daley. Another Aon executive, Michael O’Halleran, donated $25,000.00 to Daley. About 11/2 years after Ryan and O’Halleran donated $125,000.00 to Daley, Aon received $47 million in city contracts. Given the length of time it takes for the city to award contracts, one can only assume the contracts were in the works when Ryan and O’Halleran combined to contribute $125,000.00 to Daley.

Ryan left Aon to chair Chicago’s unsuccessful 2016 Olympics bid. Aon was supposedly donating millions of dollars in human services, office supplies, and office space for the Chicago Olympics bid. The profits Aon made from its city contracts compensated Aon above and beyond the value of their donations. The question is, did Mayor Daley steer $47 million of city contracts to Aon because Aon executives contributed $125,000.00 to him or because Aon contributed “millions of dollars” of in-kind services to the Chicago Olympics bid––or both?

Daley also blatantly violated his own executive order banning contributions from companies doing business with the city when he accepted $100,000.00 from the Chicago Board of  Trade, $107,000.00 from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and $50,000.00 from Archer Daniels Midland Company. Mayor Daley approved $40 million of city money to subsidize the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange merger. Archer Daniels is a major trader that was a beneficiary of Chicago’s $40 million commodity exchange subsidy.

What’s worse, there was no need for the subsidy. Archer Daniels and the exchanges are very profitable, weren’t going to move out of Chicago, and didn’t need a $40 million subsidy in the first place. If you want to learn more about how the city gave away 40 million of your tax dollars on this deal, read “Chicago Reader” reporter Ben Joravsky’s July 26, 2007, article, “Millions for the Merger

Daley’s campaign financing history shows how Chicago’s taxpayers’ $40 million subsidy to the exchanges was quite an incentive for the exchanges to donate to Daley. When Daley ran in 2003 for reelection, the Merc donated $25,000 and the Chicago Board of Trade donated $2,000.00, for a combined $27,000 contribution to Daley’s campaign. After Daley gave $40 million of your money to subsidize the Merc-CBOT merger, the campaign contributions for Daley’s 2007 reelection from the three commodity businesses went up 950% to $257,000.00.

Daley’s executive order is his admission that it’s wrong for elected officials to accept campaign contributions from companies or people doing business with the city. But as you can see from the above contributions, Daley hasn’t followed his own promise or executive order to stop accepting campaign contributions from these sources. Furthermore, Daley’s executive order did not cover the Chicago City Clerk, City Treasurer, or the 50 Chicago aldermen.

The “Chicago Tribune” wrote a series of stories entitled “Neighborhoods for Sale.” The stories revealed how campaign contributions have more sway over rezoning than the voice of the people living in the wards where rezonings occur. The aldermen who had the most rezonings also took in the most campaign contributions from developers.

Jay Stone wants more than an executive order. He wants a law to ban all Chicago elected officials from accepting campaign contributions from companies and people who do business with the city. Besides the mayor, Stone will also ban the city clerk, city treasurer, and all 50 aldermen from accepting campaign contributions from people and companies who do business with the city.

Stone’s ban would have prevented Aon’s executives Ryan and O’Halleran from contributing $125,000.00 to Daley just prior to Aon receiving $47 million in city contracts. Stone’s ban would have also stopped the commodity exchanges from donating a combined $207,000.00 to Daley at the same time the city gifted them with an unnecessary $40 million subsidy. Stone’s ban will stop aldermen in the future from taking campaign contributions from developers, construction companies, and real estate agents who donate to the aldermen in return for favorable rezonings and building inspections.