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updated: 3/1/2011 5:21 PM

Hultgren apologizes for illegal campaign contributions

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  • Randy Hultgren

    Randy Hultgren


Yet another example of a campaign finance wackiness in the 14th Congressional District race popped up Thursday as Republican candidate Randy Hultgren admitted he gave an illegal campaign donation to himself.

Federal Election Commission reports, and a complaint that followed, show Hultgren made two donations to his congressional campaign using money from his state campaign coffers. That is illegal under federal election law. The two donations total $2,000.

Campaign officials from incumbent Congressman Bill Foster's campaign jumped on the violations Thursday.

"Communities of this district deserve someone who follows the rules of the road and is accountable for their actions," Campaign Manager Brandon Pinette said in a written statement. "At the least, Mr. Hultgren owes the voters of the 14th District an explanation and should return these illegal funds immediately."

That appears to be exactly what Hultgren will do.

"As soon as we became aware that this contribution was not permitted, we immediately took steps to resolve the issue," Hultgren campaign spokesman Gill Stevens said. "While Randy Hultgren takes responsibility for this error, we are still waiting for Bill Foster to accept responsibility for his big spending, job-killing votes. Unfortunately for Illinois families, Bill Foster's mistakes will be far more difficult to resolve."

This isn't the first blowout over campaign contributions in the race. Just last month, the Hultgren camp found itself apologizing for hammering Foster about a $1,000 donation from Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters, who has been accused of using political clout to funnel bailout money to a bank connected to her family. That accusation turned out to be untrue. Waters donated the money to a Jamaican politician named Gary Foster, not Bill Foster.

Foster was on the other end of that spotlight when he received campaign contributions from embattled Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel earlier this year. Rangel is currently facing 13 charges of ethical violations and a public trial. Foster eventually donated the Rangel money to the Northern Illinois Food Bank.