Governor's race donations give Drury leg up in attorney general run
A suburban candidate for Illinois attorney general has gotten a leg up with campaign contributions he received while making a bid for governor this spring and summer.
Democratic state Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood announced this week he is switching races after Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced she will not run in 2018. Drury had announced his gubernatorial bid in June.
The switch means his campaign once again is subject to limits on contributions, which some of his donors have exceeded.
Traditional contribution caps allowing $5,600 donations from individuals and $11,100 from corporations were lifted in the governor's race after Kenilworth businessman Chris Kennedy made a $250,000 contribution to himself in March.
As a result, a handful of Drury's roughly $350,000 in donations come from donors to his gubernatorial campaign who were able to ignore the caps.
Heiji Black of Chicago gave Drury $5,600 on June 29, and then another $5,000 on June 30. Black also paid for about $1,500 in food and beverages for a Drury event at the Arts Club of Chicago in late May, records show.
Joyce Black of Deerfield gave Drury $250 on June 14, and then another $10,000 on June 29.
Drury, who did not respond to requests for comment, officially formed a new campaign committee for the attorney general's race on Wednesday. While he's the first candidate to officially announce his candidacy, a number of others have expressed interest in the role since Madigan said last Friday she will not seek a fifth term. They include departing Democratic state Rep. Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook, Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul of Chicago and Chicago Park District Board President Jesse Ruiz.
Ken Menzel, general counsel for the State Board of Elections, said the board doesn't plan to take any action in Drury's case but might look at changes to rules or state law to address similar instances in the future.
Kent Redfield, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois Springfield and a leading campaign finance expert, said it's potentially problematic to have candidates change their minds on which office they're seeking and be able to use donations intended for other purposes.
Ethically, Redfield said, Drury "would have to segregate the money, and (not use) anything in excess of what the contribution limits are for attorney general."