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Bill would keep watch on SuperPACS

Updated: July 9, 2012 6:09AM

I agree with the Sun-Times that the U.S. Supreme Court decision that permits SuperPACs to raise limitless dollars to support favored candidates threatens to wreak havoc with elections in Illinois. I would prefer that the Supreme Court had decided differently, but they didn’t. And the reality is that big spending is coming to Illinois political campaigns.

The courts have held that independent expenditure committees, those that are not coordinated with any candidate, are exempt from the state’s contribution limits.

When a candidate spends huge amounts of her own personal fortune on her campaign, we permit other candidates to ignore the caps as well. We should apply the same principle to SuperPACs. Why should a candidate be defenseless when a SuperPAC is throwing the book — and a ton of money — at her? Reformers believe that big money in politics is, if not corrupting, certainly a taint on the political process. How can it be good for democracy were we to turn the outcome of an election over to the deepest pockets?

Under the bill awaiting gubernatorial action, any candidate, the attorney general or the state’s attorney could file an immediate lawsuit if there is evidence of coordination between the SuperPAC and the candidate it funds. The court could stop PAC spending in its tracks.

Campaigns for the November election are already in high gear. We can’t wait for study committees to make recommendations. We must make sure that candidates on the wrong end of that limitless SuperPAC spending have at least a fighting chance to level the field. The governor should sign the bill.

State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie

House Majority Leader

Parent to schools CEO: Back off

To Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard: As a parent, I firmly stand with our hard-working teachers. I am offended that you keep trying to prevent them from doing their jobs to the best of their ability while trying to demonize them to parents and the public. Tying their compensation to test scores? Do you really think that will help our children to love to learn? Give the teachers what they need and stop shoving standardize tests, core standards, charter schools, turnarounds and obscenely longer school days with no class size restrictions down all of our throats. Give them the arts, PE, recess, smaller class sizes and more aids, nurses, counselors and security so our kids can learn to love to learn!

I hope not to have to be a home-school parent next year.

Shawn Peek, Albany Park

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