The Democratic Party of Illinois ended the year’s first half in slightly better financial shape than its Republican counterpart, records show.
Across the political aisle, the Illinois Republican Party had $970,713 saved at the year’s midpoint, its reports show.
Political parties file monthly reports with the Federal Election Commission that cover transactions earmarked for federal candidates or groups. They must also file quarterly reports with the Illinois State Board of Elections that detail transactions earmarked for down-ballot contests. The latest reports, delivered earlier this month, are viewable at fec.gov and elections.il.gov.
The statewide Democratic organization started April with about $1 million in the bank, documents indicate. Of that sum, about $752,737 was intended for federal uses and $260,011 was for other purposes.
Over the next three months, the party received donations from a variety of people and groups, including:
• $500,000 from billionaire Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s campaign committee, which Pritzker essentially self-funds.
• $10,000 from the Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard law firm in Waukegan; the firm’s founder and chairman, Patrick A. Salvi, is the brother of former Republican state Rep. Al Salvi and the brother-in-law of Kathy Salvi, the recent Republican nominee for U.S. Senate.
• $5,000 from the Cook County College Teachers Union, which represents faculty at Harper College in Palatine, Oakton College in Des Plaines and other schools.
• $2,000 from a political action committee representing Abbott Laboratories employees.
• $2,000 from a group representing National Weather Service employees.
• $250 from crime novelist Sara Paretsky.
The party’s expenses during the quarter included website design and texting services for more than 100 candidates, staff salaries and travel, documents indicate.
State Democratic Party spokeswoman Allison Janowski credited the success of the quarter’s fundraising effort to Democratic chair Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez, a state representative from Cicero who was named party boss last year.
“Her achievement has allowed the party to invest in new and innovative programs outside of a traditional election year, including year-round organizing, defending Democratic values in school and library races,” Janowski said.
The Illinois Republican Party started the quarter with about $654,456 in the bank. Of that sum, about $165,140 was intended for federal uses and $489,316 was for down-ballot contests.
The donations the party received over the next three months included:
• A total of $43,000 from Chair Don Tracy and his wife, Wanda, both of Springfield.
• A total of $48,000 from Dot Transportation and Dot Foods, companies owned by Don Tracy and his siblings.
• A total of $20,000 from billionaire real estate developer, former casino mogul and former Republican National Committee finance chair Steve Wynn and his wife, Andrea.
• $22,000 from Lake Forest resident and prodigious conservative donor Elizabeth Uihlein, the co-founder of the Uline shipping supply company.
• $199,089 from a federal Republican political action committee called Protect the House.
• $4,500 from Kathy Salvi.
• $600 from 2020 congressional candidate and former state Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton.
The party’s expenses during the quarter included legal services, campaign consulting, robocalls, payroll and direct mail advertising, documents indicate,
When asked to comment, Don Tracy said Pritzker “buys the loyalty of his party.”
“We’re not funded by a billionaire figurehead,” said Tracy, who has led the state GOP since 2021.
“Instead, we rely on the support of working families who want better government, less corruption and a lower tax burden.”
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Here’s how the Democratic Party of Illinois and the Illinois Republican Party stack up financially as of June 30:
Democratic Party of Illinois cash on hand
Federal funds: $690,464
Other funds: $379,547
Total: $1.07 million
Illinois Republican Party cash on hand
Federal funds: $412,770
Other funds: $557,943
Sources: fec.gov, elections.il.gov