In hunting through campaign finance records, we noticed former state Rep. Rosemary Mulligan, a Des Plaines Republican, closed out her account in the past few days. She finished her legislative career in 2012, and there was no money left in her final report.
Looking at the report before that showed that Mulligan had paid herself the remaining balance of the fund, $23,662.71, in July.
Can lawmakers just give themselves the remainder of their campaign funds? Usually not.
David Morrison from the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform took some time out of his holiday to explain: Letting officials take money for themselves out of their campaign funds was prohibited in the 1998 so-called gift ban act. Leftover campaign funds must be either given to other candidates, given to charity or given back to donors.
Or, some people just keep their funds open for years either to give to other candidates over time or maybe get back in the game someday.
As part of the negotiations, though, lawmakers were allowed to eventually cash out as much money they had in their accounts as of June 30, 1998, basically grandfathering current lawmakers in. There aren't a lot of people left that qualify, but given Mulligan's 20-year legislative career, she was one of them.
Records show that as of June 30, 1998, Mulligan had $34,937.40 in her fund, so that was her limit, which she was well under.