By Thomas Vogel
Recent campaign finance disclosures reveal Proviso Together, the political action committee that backed four winning candidates in the April 4 District 209 school board election, out-raised its competitor, Proviso First, by nearly $20,000.
The documents, which cover fundraising from Jan. 1 through March 31, add financial context to an election that saw the Proviso Together slate sweep the four open seats on the District 209 Board of Education. The quarterly filings confirm comments made by Proviso Together's chairperson Connie Brown to the Review in March saying her committee had received dozens of small donations.
Proviso Together reported $44,461.37 in contributions in its required quarterly filing, with an additional $5,835 in in-kind contributions.
Proviso First disclosed $24,500.50. Their filing shows an additional $844.40 in in-kind contributions.
The two political action committees formed in early 2017. As a result, their first quarterly reports were not required to be filed until after the spring election in early April. In the run-up to local elections, the Illinois State Board of Elections requires only contributions more than $1,000 — so-called A-1 gifts — to be disclosed.
Smaller donations are not reported until ballots are cast and leave election-watchers unable to know exactly how much each committee has in funds.
As reported by the Review in March, Proviso First had a large advantage in A-1 contributions, showing $16,000 in funds. Proviso Together had reported just $2,000 in A-1 contributions.
But the most recent Proviso Together report shows 147 itemized donations — ranging from $10 to $800 — from businesses, residents, and the candidates themselves. The donations are geographically diverse, with funds coming from communities across the Chicago suburbs, including Forest Park, Hazel Crest, Maywood, Westchester, Elmhurst, Brookfield, and Naperville, among others. The bulk, however, are from Forest Park.
Proviso First's filing shows 19 itemized donations from residents and businesses in several communities, including the city of Chicago, Westchester, Berkeley, Elmhurst and Melrose Park, among others. The Proviso First candidates also contributed to the committee.
There is a $480.25 contribution from a Washington D.C. man, Chris Gallaway, and Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough gave $720.37.