Lawlor's campaign violation fines could keep him off ballot
Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor is at risk of being kept off the November ballot because he has yet to pay a $15,000 fine to the Illinois Board of Elections for violating campaign finance disclosure laws.
Lawlor, a 36-year-old Vernon Hills Republican, has until Aug. 30 to pay the fine and update his campaign finance reports or he will not be allowed on the ballot, said board of elections spokesman Matt Dietrich.
That's the same day Lawlor is scheduled to return to county work. He is on a leave of absence and enrolled in a drug-treatment program for an unspecified addiction.
Lawlor is the sole officer of his campaign committee, which hasn't filed any type of report with the state election board since November 2016, according to the election board's website. The election board notified Lawlor last month that his campaign committee had been dissolved because of the outstanding fine and lack of financial disclosures. In his committee's last quarterly disclosure filed in October 2016, Lawlor reported the committee's assets at $24,118.54.
His Democratic challenger, Julie Simpson of Vernon Hills, would not comment on Lawlor's campaign issues.
"Right now the only important thing is that Aaron focuses on his recovery," she said.
In order to get on the November ballot, Lawlor has to file with the state board to reactivate his committee. He would be required to file all the missing quarterly reports from the past two years as well as mandated documentation for all donations of $1,000 or more during that time. Then he'd have to pay the fine or ask for a hearing with the state board to negotiate a settlement.
"Those settlements typically are negotiated based on a percentage of the committee's total fund balance," Dietrich said. "However, because there have been no quarterly reports filed since 2016, we do not know how much money the committee has now."
The state election board next meets Aug. 24 in Chicago, Dietrich added.
Over the past two years, Lawlor has been a defendant in foreclosure and eviction proceedings, according to Lake County court records. This year alone, he has been ordered to pay more than $10,000 to credit card companies, court records also show.
Lawlor was first appointed to the Lake County Board in 2009 and then elected by his board colleagues to head the body in 2012. County board Vice Chairwoman Carol Calabresa, a Libertyville Republican, is leading the board in his absence.