DuPage Election Commission wants its lawyers to be less political

Updated 9/29/2016 5:47 PM

Attorneys representing the DuPage County Election Commission might have to say "no" the next time a candidate asks them for a campaign contribution.

The board that oversees the commission is working to establish a policy that would prohibit the agency's attorneys from engaging in certain political activity "on behalf of any candidate under the jurisdiction" of the commission.


According to a draft of the document, the proposed policy is intended to assure the public that the results of elections in DuPage "are free from any factors which would affect the integrity of the vote tabulation or the voter confidence in the electoral process."

The move comes after officials learned that Bond, Dickson & Associates -- a Wheaton law firm that represents the election commission -- has donated more than $6,300 since 2003 to Republican Recorder Fred Bucholz.

Jean Kaczmarek, a Glen Ellyn Democrat and longtime critic of the commission, said attorneys from the firm should have recused themselves when Moon Khan -- the Democrat challenging Bucholz in the November general election -- sought a recount of the March primary results that initially showed him without enough votes to win his party's nomination. Khan eventually was declared the winner of the Democratic primary after a court-ordered recount.

When the commission asked DuPage Investigator General Nancy Wolfe to review the matter and decide if there was a violation of the county's ethics ordinance, she concluded no further action was required.

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Still, the commission board directed the staff and attorney Pat Bond to draft the political participation policy to avoid possible conflicts.

According to the draft of the policy, any attorney performing legal services for the commission should refrain from doing certain political activity on behalf of some candidates, including those running for park board, forest preserve board, county board and a countywide seat.

The list of prohibited political activity includes organizing a political event, assisting at the polls on behalf of a candidate, making contributions, distributing campaign literature and working on a campaign.

An attorney who violates the policy could be removed from service to the commission.

Initially, commissioners wanted the policy to also apply to themselves and commission staff members.

But Bond said the employees already are prohibited from engaging in political activity by the commission's ethics ordinance.

The proposed policy couldn't apply to the three commissioners because they must be a Democrat or a Republican to be appointed to the bipartisan board.

Commissioners will continue their review of the proposed policy on Oct. 12.

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