Thursday, March 16, 2006

Hiding in Plain Site

Just about everyone can find campaign finance information on Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19) using the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) disclosure database and typing in his last name. Very quickly anyone can learn that he has $1,018,609 cash on hand as of March 01, 2006. After that filing, he received $1,000 from the American Postal Workers’ Union (part of the AFL-CIO) and another $2,500 from Wal-Mart, Inc. A more detailed analysis is available from PoliticalMoneyLine.

From this site, people learn that John Shimkus has another “no party associated” political action committee (PAC) based in Springfield, IL. Until recently, it’s base was Washington, D.C. Few people know the John S Fund exists. A truly interesting read it is, too. Here are just a few of the high-dollar highlights as of December 31, 2005. Since that date, the fund has acquired an additional $4,500 in cash from various sources and an in-kind contribution from Edison Electric for catering services.

Received from PACs
  • EXELONPAC $5,000
  • AT&T FEDERAL PAC $5,000
  • UPS $5,000
  • Other Energy $5,500
  • Health Care $18,000
Contributions to Candidates
  • Peter Roskam (IL-06) $2,000
  • Tom DeLay (TX-22) $1,000
There is an interesting note regarding Exelon. On March 16, 2006, the attorney general’s office filed suit against the organization:
Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow today filed a lawsuit against the owner and operators of the Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station in Will County for the facility’s releases of wastewater containing tritium into the groundwater beneath the facility and the groundwater outside the boundary of the plant. The first leak allegedly occurred a decade ago.
Shades of Westar only two years ago. The January 10, 2004, edition of The Wichita Eagle in Kansas published Dion Lefler's article entitled Group Calls for Study into Campaign Contributions of Westar Energy Executives:
In an internal Westar e-mail dated May 5, 2002, Lake had questioned why he was being asked to give $1,000 to "Volunteers for Shimkus," another $1,000 to "Tom Young for Congress," and $300 to "Tom DeLay Congressional Committee."

"Who is Shimkus?" wrote [Doug] Lake. "Who is Young? DeLay is from Texas, what is our connection? ... I am confused."

Doug Lawrence, then Westar's vice president for public affairs, wrote back that Rep. John Shimkus was a close associate of Barton and Tauzin and that they requested contributions be made to him instead of to their campaigns. Young was Shelby's chief of staff who resigned to seek a congressional seat of his own.

Lawrence wrote that the contributions were part of a company effort, approved by Wittig, to get special-interest language into a bill to repeal the Public Utilities Holding Company Act, a federal consumer-protection law regulating utility accounting practices.
Between "Volunteers for Shimkus" and the "John S Fund", the total cash on hand for John Shimkus is approximately $1,050,000. It proves that he is certainly a busy legislator building a tidy GOP “war chest” to elect and re-elect. IL-19 has the highest unemployment numbers in the state. They pay the price so he can continue his busy self-serving schedule.

Wonder what else the wrong man for the job is hiding in plain site.

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