As of Oct. 12, Empower Rockford, the committee pushing for Rockford to return to home rule authority, collected $21,400 from contributors. The following is a list of those contributors in order of magnitude, the amount donated and date recorded by state election records:
Rockford Register Star; $3,500; Dec. 6, 2004
AMCORE Bank; $3,500; Jan. 14, 2005
Behr; $3,500; Nov. 17, 2004
Rockford Products; $3,500; Dec. 6, 2004
SwedishAmerican Hospital; $3,500; Nov. 24, 2004
Alhark Corporation; $1,000; Nov. 17, 2004
Anderson Enterprises; $1,000; Dec. 1, 2004
David Schertz; $1,000; Dec. 3, 2004
Lewis Crampton; $500; Dec. 3, 2004
John Lundin; $400; Nov. 24, 2004
AMCORE has its own political action committee that has contributed $230,375 since 1994 to political causes and state and local politicians, including former Democratic Rockford Mayor and state Rep. Doug Scott.
Behr is one of at least eight local and non-local companies that have headquarters at 1100 Seminary St. in Rockford. Since 1996, Behr contributed $16,800 to mostly Republican candidates, including former Republican Winnebago County Board Chairman Kris Cohn. She is married to Stuart Cohn, the president of Behr Aluminum, Inc.
SwedishAmerican Hospital has contributed $43,665 in 87 transactions since 1995. Nearly all the money went to Republican candidates and causes. However, Rockford Mayor Larry Morrisseys campaign received $500 from SwedishAmerican Hospital.
Empower Rockford committee member Kent A. Mallquist is president of Alhark Corporation. Since 1995, Alhark has contributed $6,900 to mostly state Republicans. However, the company contributed $3,000 to Republican candidate Dennis Johnson when he ran against Morrissey and Scott for Rockford mayor in 2001. Alhark contributed $500 to Independent candidate Morrissey in December 2004.
In addition to the contributions by Alhark, Mallquist personally contributed a total of $13,190 in 21 transactions, which went mostly to the Winnebago County Republican Central Committee. However, Mallquist contributed $500 to Morrissey in January 2005.
John R. Anderson is an executive of Anderson Enterprises, which has contributed $18,400 to local and state campaign coffers since 2001. Nearly all the campaign money that was contributed by the company was given to Republicans. However, Morrisseys campaign received $6,000 from Anderson Enterprises in June 2005.
During Morrisseys first campaign for Rockford mayor in 2001, Anderson personally contributed $5,200 to Morrisseys opponent, Dennis Johnson. Anderson also loaned $20,000 to Johnsons campaign in February 2001.
Schertz is president of OSF St. Anthony Medical Center in Rockford. Schertz personally contributed $6,910 in 19 transactions to state Republicans, and a hospital political action committee, in addition to the contribution to Empower Rockford.
OSF contributed $4,000 to state Republicans in four transactions since 2003. No money was contributed by OSF to Democrats.
Crampton is director of the taxpayer-supported Burpee Museum of Natural History. Crampton was also recently named to the board that governs SwedishAmerican Hospital Health System.
Crampton has personally contributed $17,960 to political campaigns and causes since 1999. He contributed to Republicans and Democrats, including $3,300 to Scotts campaign between April 2002 and February 2005.
Lundin operates Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois, Wisconsin and Stateline Area, Inc.
Although Empower Rockford called itself a citizens group at their Oct. 12 press conference, it is anything but a grassroots organization. The committee is composed of at least 15 prominent, wealthy or well-connected individuals and public officials, including one not listedWinnebago County States Attorney Paul Logli.
To view the members of Empower Rockford, and read more about why they believe home rule should be approved, visit www.homerulenow.com.
To view who is contributing money to Empower Rockford, visit the state election Web site at www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure/welcome.aspx. Click on committees.
From the Oct. 19-25, 2005, issue