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Few candidates for 2nd Distict seat have filed financial disclosure

Chicago Ald. Anthony Beale (9th)

Chicago Ald. Anthony Beale (9th)

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Updated: March 7, 2013 10:17AM

Jesse Jackson Jr.’s resignation from Congress amid a federal investigation has drawn a slew of candidates who want to replace him, many of whom have vowed to bring change and transparency to the 2nd Congressional District.

But so far, the public has little financial information on most of the individuals running.

Just three of the 16 Democrats and one of five Republicans vying in the Feb. 26 primary have filed personal disclosure forms required of most candidates running for Congress. The filings ask candidates to lay out their finances, including their debts, their spouse’s employment and their investments.

They are required of any candidate who has either raised or spent $5,000 or more in the campaign.

That means most of those candidates lack financial backing or are ignoring the mandate. Failing to file or filing false reports can carry a fine of up to $50,000, according to the Ethics in Government Act, which discusses compliance.

“If some of those people are minor candidates who aren’t raising money yet, that could be one reason,” so few have filed, said Daniel Auble with the Center for Responsive Politics.

Democrats Debbie Halvorson and Robin Kelly have filed, and though Toi Hutchinson asked for an extension, her campaign said she had since filed even though that wasn’t showing up on the Office of the U.S. House Clerk’s website.

Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) does not have a disclosure on file even though he has raised more than $5,000 so far this campaign. Beale claimed $49,000 in receipts in forms filed with the Federal Elections Commission. The Beale campaign said it would get back on the issue but had not by Tuesday night.

Hutchinson’s campaign provided a copy of her disclosure to the Chicago Sun-Times, noting that it did not know why it wasn’t showing up on the Web database. In the disclosure, she claims a current salary from the state at $67,000 and her husband’s salary with IBM at about $109,000. She also lists debt on three student loans; two for between $50,000 and $100,000, and another for $15,000 to $50,000.

Republican candidate Beverly Reid also filed the papers, disclosing two student loan debts: one for between $50,000 and $100,000 and another for $15,000 to $50,000.

“It’s important for voters to have basic financial information about the candidates because there are questions of conflict of interest that might arise, depending on what legislation they will be dealing with,” said Viveca Novak, spokeswoman for the Center on Responsive Politics. “In addition, voters might be interested in knowing whether a candidate is like them, understands their problems, sort of similar things going on in their lives. It’s a truth check on the candidate. . . . There’s nothing wrong with having money, having a lot of assets, having student loans, being in debt. It should be information that’s available to voters.”

Halvorson, a former one-term congresswoman, claimed $80,000 in income last year and noted her spouse also has an income, which was not disclosed. The filing also noted a line of credit for a business of $100,000 to $250,000 from First National Bank of Illinois.

Robin Kelly, who resigned in December from Cook County under Toni Preckwinkle, disclosed a salary last year of $170,000 and a spouse’s salary of $140,000.

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