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Daniel Schwen, "Illinois State Capitol in Springfield"

Nonprofit Political Spending in Illinois

Loopholes and Circumvention in Illinois Campaign Finance Law

Project Lead:


Zarek Drozda, Julian Duggan


This report analyzes the flow of donations from organizations with 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), and 501(c)(6) status to state-level political committees in Illinois. We identify $13 million donated from these groups to political committees between 2011 and 2017 – a lower bound, as our dataset is non-exhaustive. Of that, $8 million came from unions and the majority of the rest came from trade associations. We also find over $875,000 from out-of-state organizations, most of it from Washington, D.C. In response to these substantial cash flows, we recommend that 501(c)(4), (c)(5), and (c)(6) organizations be subject to donor disclosure requirements, and that Illinois’s “self-funding” provision be abolished.

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