Scott Lee Cohen has loaned $2.1 million to his campaign since July
BY DAVE McKINNEY Sun-Times Springfield bureau chief
SPRINGFIELD -Independent gubernatorial candidate Scott Lee Cohen loaned his campaign $2.1 million between July and early October, according to a new financial disclosure report he filed Monday - one week after it was due.
Since Oct. 3, Cohen has chipped in $1.1 million on top of that declared amount, state records show, bringing the total the millionaire pawnbroker has lent his campaign to $4.8 million this year. In 2009, he sunk another $1 million in personal funds into his campaign fund.
Between July and Oct. 3, Cohen logged only seven campaign donations from individuals, totaling $2,750 and suggesting that if he has any groundswell of public support it is from people unwilling to back his candidacy with their dollars.
"Right now, people are pretty hard pressed," Cohen spokesman John Davis said when asked about the small number of individual donors to Cohen's campaign.
Cohen, who has railed about the lack of transparency in public spending, has refused to release his 2009 federal tax returns, which would allow the first serious look at his personal finances and his ability to self-finance his campaign. Democrat Pat Quinn and Republican Bill Brady have already made their tax returns public.
Davis said it is still Cohen's intention to release his tax forms but that he has been unable to prior to now because of pending litigation involving a building in which Cohen had an interest.
"In talking to the campaign manager, we expected those to be filed before the election," Davis said when asked when Cohen's tax returns will be made public.
Cohen's filing Monday comes one week after the State Board of Elections required candidates to file pre-election reports detailing their fund-raising from mid-summer to the beginning of October. A board spokesman said the missed deadline could result in a $500 fine against Cohen's campaign.
Davis blamed the tardiness on an overworked campaign staffer, whom he would not name.
"We have a small campaign, running very, very hard, working practically 24 hours a day, and she was inundated with how many things she had to do. But it's done," Davis said.