District 63 Candidate Unveils Campaign Finance Reform Plan

Article excerpt

State House candidate Steven Robert Verr is outlining a plan for campaign finance reform he says would jump-start voter confidence in elected officials.

Verr, one of three McHenry County candidates running for the Republican nomination March 21 in state House District 63, is proposing that political parties be prevented from contributing money to candidates during a primary election.

As part of his five-point plan, Verr also is suggesting that campaigns be prevented from soliciting money from state employees - the scenario that currently is embarrassing Gov. George Ryan.

Verr, who raised only $860 for his primary bid this first two months of 2000, said his reforms would limit the influence of political parties and special interests.

Fellow candidate Tom Salvi, a Crystal Lake physician, raised more than $30,000 by the end of February with assistance from the Committee for Legislative Action and Friends of Lee Daniels, the House GOP leader.

The third primary candidate, Sheila Luecht, raised $4,800 in contributions and $1,900 in in-kind donations since the beginning of the year.

Verr's proposal calls for:

- Banning all campaigns and political parties from soliciting contributions from state employees.

- Prohibiting legislative leaders or political parties from contributing to candidates in primary elections.

- Banning state-regulated industries - gambling, liquor and public utilities - from contributing to legislative campaigns or political parties.

- Creating a $2,000 per candidate contribution limit each election from individuals, organizations, unions and corporations.

- Providing a $50 state income tax credit to individuals to encourage political contributions.

"Any person who examines Illinois politics has to recognize something very serious has to be done to put a stop to these abuses," Verr said.

Salvi, meanwhile, said he already has called for banning political contributions from gaming and tobacco companies. He said he would need to further study restrictions on utility companies. …