Supreme Court justices decide on IL officials use of campaign funds

Linda D. Garrow

The Illinois Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether public officials who are under investigation or charged with crimes may use their campaign funds to pay for their legal defense.

The court heard oral arguments last week in a case involving a former Chicago city alderman, Daniel Solis, then chairman of the city council’s Zoning Committee, who was being investigated by the FBI for allegedly taking campaign donations from developers in exchange for official action.

Solis did not run for re-election in 2019 and was succeeded by Byron Sigcho-Lopez, who filed a complaint over the matter with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

Related story:Judge grants Madison County plaintiff TRO against new law creating judicial subcircuits

On May 21, 2019, the day after Sigcho-Lopez was sworn into office, the 25th Ward Regular Democratic Organization, which Solis chaired, used $220,000 to pay the law firm Foley & Lardner, LLP, for defending him. The purpose of the payment was first reported by local media.

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