The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

January 3, 2014

Justices took cash from groups tied to pension law


A court spokesman reiterated Garman’s message but had no other comment on the matter Thursday.

The newspaper said that during his 2010 retention campaign, Kilbride, a Democrat and former chief justice, took in $1.47 million from the Democratic Party of Illinois, controlled by Madigan. His initial 2000 race benefited from $688,000 from the party. Another $583,000 in 2010 came from unions now opposed to the pension changes.

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown noted the judicial code rules on fundraising but would not comment further because of the litigation underway.

Republican Lloyd Karmeier won his 2004 race for the court with help from $266,000 in contributions from four major business groups, each of which lobbied in favor of the pension law Quinn signed.

Only Justice Bob Thomas appears not to have accepted contributions from any group with an interest in the law, according to the newspaper.

The justices aren’t affected by pension changes. The Judges Retirement System was the only one of five pension accounts carved out of the bill. In response to a question by Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, Madigan said during House debate the reason for that was to eliminate the possibility of conflict if the judicial system reviews a lawsuit.

“If it’s a conflict for judges to be in the pension bill,” Brady said this week, “then it’s a conflict they’re taking money from the groups they’ll make rulings about.”

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