Emerging political powerhouse donates $20,000 to Mayor Scott

Larry Morrissey’s campaign files complaint against Move Illinois Forward

Move Illinois Forward, an emerging Chicago-based political action committee, contributed $20,000 to Rockford Mayor Doug Scott’s campaign March 25, which prompted a complaint to be filed with the State Board of Elections. The complaint was filed April 1 by David J. Lickteig, a campaign volunteer for independent mayoral candidate Larry Morrissey.

Morrissey’s campaign manager Jim Thacker said Move Illinois Forward filed a report indicating the committee would not be donating money to candidates in the April 5 election. By donating the money to Scott and not filing the required disclosure report within five days, Thacker alleged Move Illinois Forward did not comply with applicable campaign laws. He also urged the Scott campaign to return the money.

Tom Meyer, Scott’s campaign manager, said the Morrissey campaign’s complaint is with Move Illinois Forward, not the Scott campaign. He added the money would not be returned.

State Board of Election data indicate Move Illinois Forward reported the contribution electronically at 9:59 a.m. April 4—10 days after the contribution was made to Scott’s campaign.

An assistant to David Wilhelm, chairman for Move Illinois Forward, said the $20,000 came from a $72,071 balance the committee possessed at the end of 2004. According to state records, all 47 contributions to Move Illinois Forward in 2004 totaled $176,500.

Among the contributors to Move Illinois Forward is the Rosemont law firm Sorino, Ramello and Durkin, which contributed $5,000 on March 5, 2004. Mark Stephens, son of Rosemont Mayor Don Stephens, is an attorney for Sorino, Ramello and Durkin, according to state records. Mark Stephens is also Chairman of Triton Community College.

Since March 9, 2004, Move Illinois Forward has contributed a total of $125, 729 to 12 different Democrats in 15 transactions.

The largest and most notable contribution by Move Illinois Forward went to State Sen. Emil Jones Jr. (D-14, Chicago), speaker of the state senate. Jones’ campaign received $30,000 Oct. 14, 2004. State Rep. John C. D’Amico (D-15, Chicago) received $5,000 from Move Illinois Forward on March 11, 2004.

D’Amico represents portions of the district formerly represented by Ralph C. Capparelli, who Mayor Stephens said was one of his contacts for state-related matters and legislation. Capparelli lost his bid to represent the state’s 20th district last fall in a redrawn district.

Thacker said Move Illinois Forward is also affiliated with Citizens for (Illinois Gov. Rod) Blagojevich—a “staunch supporter” of Scott. He added that 60 percent of Scott’s campaign contributions have come from outside Rockford.

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