SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN/KMOX) – The recent passage of an expanded Illinois gambling bill, following years of failed attempts has raised questions about the role, if any, campaign contributions played in the way the vote turned out.
One political reform group reports, while money is a factor in political decisions, it’s not the only factor. A review of donations from the gambling industry to lawmakers shows campaign donations aren’t necessarily related.
David Morrison of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform says lawmakers, both Democratic and Republican, collectively received hundreds of thousands of dollars from casinos, horse tracks and other interests. Morrison says lawmakers are wined and dined all the time but that doesn’t mean they’re paid to vote a certain way.
“One of the standard responses people says to me is, if you can’t take their money, drink their liquor, eat their food and vote against their bills then you don’t belong in this game.”
Morrison also says if a lot of money comes in from one lobbyist, representing one client, that doesn’t mean the contributions are tied to one piece of legislation. Morrison does admit, it looks bad when he or she takes money and votes for a bill the donor wanted
“We’re all trying to figure out why that money changed hands,” he says. “It’s entirely possible that many of these checks were not related to conversations about this particular bill at all, but about something else entirely.”
Morrison says there’s no mechanism to force donors to say why they’re donating money, and there likely never will be.