Informants, guns and travel: Seized funds free police to spend on wide range of items

Under state and federal laws known as civil asset forfeiture, police departments may seize property – such as cars and cash – they believe is used in criminal activity. The owners of the property may never themselves be charged with a crime and getting property back could take years and involve costly attorney fees.

In some cases, the funds from seizures are substantial, especially in small urban cities in central Illinois. The City of Champaign, for example, which took in at least $1.17 million in forfeiture funds between 2014 and mid-2019, spent at least $7,000 at restaurants such as Hooters, Arby’s and In-N-Out Burgers and utility/internet usage charges from July 2017 to August 2018.

Robin Kelly’s campaign targeting fundraising for 2020 cycle

In the 2018 election cycle, Congresswoman Robin Kelly spent $879,435 in total – one of the lowest amounts spent – defeating David Merkle by 183,816 to 43,875 in votes.

Kelly’s largest expense was for her fundraising consultant Lauren Cvengros, through LBH Chicago, which cost $252,911. Although the 2020 cycle is not yet complete, Kelly has only spent $211,387 in total. Her greatest expense was again for her fundraising consultant, Cvengros, which cost $73,681.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger targeted media buys in 2018

Republican representative Adam Kinzinger poured over one-fourth of his $2.5 million-plus campaign budget into media production and buys during the 2017-2018 election cycle.

However, since his first congressional campaign during the 2009-2010 election cycle, Kinzinger has traditionally spent the most money on media production and buys, which is purchased airtime that can be used to run political advertisements.

Rep. Krishnamoorthi outspends challenger by $1.9 million in re-election campaigning

Illinois representative Raja Krishnamoorthi spent $1.9 million more on campaigning than his 8th congressional district challenger for the 2018 midterm election cycle.

Krishnamoorthi, is a Democratic representative for Illinois’ 8th district. He was elected in 2016 and replaced Tammy Duckworth, who gave up her seat and successfully ran for the U.S. Senate.

Individual donors, PACs key to Jan Schakowsky’s 2020 fundraising

In past years, Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky has raised near the same or less than the average of other Illinois congress members. Since the 1999-2000 cycle, she has raised more than the average, according to OpenSecrets.org, a non-profit organization that focuses on collecting fundraising and spending data from the FEC and presenting it to the public.

In this election cycle, Schakowsky appears to have a similar pace, having already spent $775,084 from January to September 30th.

Cheri Bustos’s campaign increased spending by $1 million in 2018

Running for reelection in Illinois’ 17th Congressional district, Cheri Bustos spent almost $3.2 million in the 2017-2018 election cycle. The expenditures ranged from dinners at Chicago and Washington DC’s most expensive restaurants, such as the 116 Club, to office supplies at Walmart. 

Bustos’s top expenditures include payments towards communications, advertising and financial specialists, donations to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and paychecks for staffers.

Rodney Davis campaign spending increased from ‘feeling pressure’, analyst says

During the 2017-2018 election cycle, Republican U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis’s campaign spent $4,085,715.

Dr. Kent Redfield, a retired professor of Political Science who specialized in campaign finance at the University of Illinois Springfield said Davis increased his campaign spending because he was feeling pressure in his campaign.

Danny K. Davis’s campaign spent less than all Illinois Democrats in 2018 election cycle

Danny K. Davis, the 7th Congressional District Democrat, spent less on his 2018 campaign than any other Illinois Democrat – just $551,000.

Davis has been in office since 1996. Every year, he runs virtually unopposed, always racking up at least 80% of the vote. In 2018, he pulled in 87.6% of the vote against his opponent, Illinois Republican Craig Cameron. In the 2016 election, he captured 84.2% of the vote after spending $503,000.

Darin LaHood cuts campaign spending in half

Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood spent $1.2 million to get re-elected in 2018, half of what he spent in the previous election cycle.

LaHood, Republican Congressman for Illinois’ 18th District, spent over $2.2 million for his 2016 special election campaign, when he ran for the seat of Aaron Schock, who resigned after being charged with campaign fraud.

Illinois Congresswoman Lauren Underwood spends nearly $5 million on first election

Lauren Underwood spent about $4.9 million to win her seat in the election for Illinois’s 14th congressional district.

Most of Underwood’s expenditures from 2017-2018 were on TV advertising and payroll processing. Underwood’s campaign spent $2,498,871 million on TV Advertising alone, according the FEC. The payments were to the company “Ethica” in Garden City, NY.