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Complaint: Irvin campaign hasn’t identified Ken Griffin as sponsoring entity

Irvin’s team claims Pritzker and Democratic leaders are behind the complaint
Richard Irvin and running mate Rep. Avery Bourne appear with Senate Deputy Republican Leader...
Richard Irvin and running mate Rep. Avery Bourne appear with Senate Deputy Republican Leader Sue Rezin and Rep. David Welter.(Blue Room Stream)
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 6:44 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) - A concerned Chicago resident filed a complaint against Aurora mayor Richard Irvin’s campaign for governor Thursday, citing a violation of the Campaign Disclosure Act.

William Cook submitted documents to the Illinois State Board of Elections stating Irvin has repeatedly failed to identify billionaire Ken Griffin as a sponsoring entity for his campaign.

Under the law, a sponsoring entity is any person, organization, corporation or association contributing at least 33% of a political committee’s total funding during a quarterly reporting period. Cook explained that the law also states political committees must amend the statement of organization documents to identify a sponsoring entity if they pass the 33% threshold.

As of Tuesday, Griffin has contributed $45 million to Irvin’s campaign.

Cook explained the Irvin for Illinois campaign reported $22,827,099.76 in contributions at the end of the first quarter of 2022. Although, $20 million of that total came from Ken Griffin. Cook wrote that Griffin’s donations added up to about 87.6% of the total funding for Irvin during that reporting period.

Griffin later donated another $25 million to Irvin’s campaign on May 2.

“Yet again, no changes have been made to identify Mr. Griffin as the sponsoring entity that he is,” Cook said. “The Code explicitly provides the Board with authority to ‘impose a civil penalty of $50 per business day...for failing to file or late filing of a statement of organization.”

He also explained that the law states candidates could be liable for a penalty of up to $5,000 for filing a false statement of organization. In fact, the penalty for violating Article 9 of the Illinois election code is between $1,000 to $5,000 and could be subject to criminal liability. Cook noted that it could also lead to Irvin being found guilty of a business offense under the state’s unified code of corrections.

“The violations at issue are quite clear,” Cook wrote. “The Irvin campaign refuses to identify Mr. Griffin as a sponsoring entity despite the clear evidence that he is, and as a candidate, Mr. Irvin is responsible under the code for these violations. It is critical that the board fully investigate these repeated violations of the code.”

A spokesperson for Irvin says their campaign has disclosed every penny received from generous contributors.

“This complaint is nothing more than Pritzker and the Democrats once again meddling in the Republican primary because they know Richard Irvin is the best candidate to take on Pritzker and win,” said Eleni Demertzis.

The State Board of Elections plans to hold a closed hearing to discuss this complaint during the first week of June. A member of the board’s campaign disclosure division will have the opportunity to recommend the complaint is sent to the general counsel who would then send the complaint to the full board. The full board is set to discuss the complaint against Irvin’s campaign on June 22.

Board spokesperson Matt Dietrich said members could determine the complaint was filed on justifiable grounds and order Irvin’s committee to file an amended D-1. Although, the board could also order the campaign to ensure that they properly identify any sponsoring entities in the future.

Although, the same complaint could be filed against two other Republican gubernatorial campaigns. Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) has received $6,025,000 from businessman Richard Uihlein. Jesse Sullivan has also received a combined $10 million from Asurian CEO Kevin Taweel and businessman Chris Larsen.

Any complaints about violations of the Campaign Disclosure Act filed by June 10 will be heard by ISBE members on June 22. Meanwhile, complaints filed after that point won’t be heard until July 29.

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