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updated: 8/2/2017 4:34 PM

Campaign complaints filed against District 211 winners

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  • From left, Anna Klimkowicz, Robert LeFevre Jr. and Ed Yung,

    From left, Anna Klimkowicz, Robert LeFevre Jr. and Ed Yung,

 
 

A Hoffman Estates man has filed campaign disclosure violation complaints against the three winning candidates in April's Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 election and three groups that supported them.

The allegations largely involve campaign signs Mark Cramer claims didn't identify who paid for them.

His complaints filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections name District 211 board members Anna Klimkowicz, Robert LeFevre Jr. and Ed Yung, as well as Northwest Suburban Teacher's Union Local 1211, Trans United Fund Illinois and the Palatine-based committee Parents and Neighbors for Quality Education (PNQE).

Cramer claims the teachers union bought individual candidate signs and Trans United Fund bought combined signs for all three candidates that were distributed by PNQE.

All the targets of Cramer's complaints disputed the allegations or deferred comment until summoned before the Board of Elections.

"There's a lot in there that's based on false assumptions, so it's not factual," said PNQE Treasurer Lindsay Christensen. "I'm not in the least bit concerned about this."

She added her committee was not involved in distributing signs that lacked attribution.

Trans United Fund Illinois Treasurer Daye Pope said her group bought signs for the three candidates, but none that lacked attribution.

"We're really a group that wanted to make sure schools were inclusive of everyone," she said, referring to transgender access to bathrooms and locker rooms that was a major issue in the election.

Teachers union President John Braglia said he could not fully comment on a complaint he had not yet received. He said the union bought signs for Klimkowicz, LeFevre and Yung but denied Cramer's implication it represented an endorsement.

Braglia said the union hosted a forum for all six candidates and made it clear to all that the union would provide any assistance they wanted during the campaign. Only Klimkowicz, LeFevre and Yung accepted that offer, he said.

"I can't help someone that doesn't ask for it," Braglia added.

Union endorsements are not prohibited under election law, Cramer said, but he believes most of the public was unaware the three winning candidates had received such support.

Cramer, who said he takes a general interest in election campaign issues, said the signs for Klimkowicz, LeFevre and Yung caught his attention because they appeared relatively close to Election Day, after many weeks when he saw only the other three candidates' signs.

His complaints against PNQE and the three candidates cite a March 19 email exchange between Christensen and LeFevre in which she tells another LeFevre supporter she can get that person a yard sign.

Cramer cites that as a clear example of prohibited collusion between LeFevre and an independent political committee during the campaign, one from which Klimkowicz and Yung also benefitted.

But Yung said Cramer's own evidence disputes his argument as it states PNQE wasn't organized until March 24. After that, Christensen and her fellow committee members were aware they couldn't interact with the candidates in the way they had as independent citizens under state election law, Yung said.

Cramer also accuses LeFevre of using his school district email for campaign purposes.

LeFevre said he'd reserve most comment until after he receives confirmation Cramer's complaint had been filed. But he denied ever having misappropriated school district resources.

State Board of Elections officials confirmed receiving Cramer's complaints but said Wednesday that closed hearings have set for Aug. 23 at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago.

Klimkowicz indicated she'd wait for that hearing to respond to the complaint in detail.

The complaint against Trans United Fund Illinois also claims it failed to properly report a $10,000 contribution from high-profile donors Karin and Lana Wachowski of Chicago on the day after the election.

Hayden Mora, a Trans United Fund board member, said the group would check to see if any mistakes were made amid a very lengthy report.

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