Election panel reform can't come too soon

 
Posted9/4/2016 1:01 AM

The Daily Herald recently published the story on the DuPage County Election Commission Board's decision to draft a policy prohibiting political activity of commissioners, executive staff and outside legal counsel.

This decision follows an April letter I sent to Chairwoman Cathy Terrill expressing my disappointment that Bond, Dickson & Assoc. represented the commission in matters associated with a 2016 primary candidate recount, despite the firm's contributions to the candidate's opponent of $6,350.

 

The board agreed to forward my letter to DuPage County Investigator General Nancy Wolfe who reportedly concluded that no further action was required.

Nevertheless, the board decided last month to have the law firm prepare the policy to police itself. Bond, Dickson & Assoc. has contributed nearly $209,000 exclusively to DuPage Republicans. The law firm invoices over $150,000 annually to the commission.

On the same day the story was released, Patrick Bond was on the host committee of the golf outing fundraiser for the campaign DuPage State's Attorney Bob Berlin. Also on the host committee was Nancy Wolfe, the former first asst. state's attorney of Berlin and Joe Birkett. Had she and the ethics commission found any wrongdoing, the matter could have gone to Berlin's office.

Why should we respect this preposterous system?

The 2016 primary wasn't the first or last time politics at the election commission have raised eyebrows. In 2008, Judge Kenneth Popejoy removed himself from a ballot objection case when Bond, Dickson's $6,500 in contributions to the judge's campaign were questioned. Several months after I sent my April letter, Bond, Dickson & Assoc. represented the commission at a ballot objection hearing of a candidate for county court clerk despite contributing $18,135 to the candidate's opponent.

A strong, meaningful election commission policy restricting political activity couldn't come soon enough.

Jean Kaczmarek

Glen Ellyn

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