On March 23, I first became aware of a discrepancy between the New Leadership Party (NLP) campaign contribution filings and the filing by the Illinois Machinist Non-partisan Political League. The Machinist Union reported a $1,000 donation to the NLP that is not in our records.
Subsequently, I had several conversations with officials of the State Board of Elections and made several telephone calls and a trip to the Machinist Union offices in an attempt to understand what happened. This was particularly troubling to the NLP since it was the policy of the NLP Campaign Committee to not accept donations from unions doing business with the Village of Oak Park in the last election.
My understanding is that the Machinist Union has produced a canceled check for this transaction and sent it to the State Board of Elections. We requested from the State Board of Elections a copy of that check in order to determine the payee, as well as where the check was deposited. We have not yet received it.
Meanwhile, in conferring with two persons who were officers of the Village Citizens’ Alliance (VCA) in the spring of 2005, I was told by them that the VCA did receive a $1,000 contribution from the Illinois Machinist Non-Partisan Political League, and that it had been deposited in the VCA’s bank account in early May. I had not been aware of this until four days ago.
In this connection, we must point out that on Feb. 27, 2005, the NLP received a loan of $1,000 from the VCA, a fact that was disclosed to the State Board of Elections in March, 2005, and which appears on their website. This loan to us occurred about six weeks prior to the VCA’s receipt of the machinists’ contribution; the money that was contributed to the VCA was never transferred to the NLP.
The New Leadership Coalition Executive Committee is requesting that the State Board of Elections complete its investigation of this matter, and make its findings known as quickly as possible. We believe it is of the utmost importance that all citizens of Oak Park get the facts prior to reaching any conclusions. We intend to fully cooperate and disclose all information at our disposal.
The NLP built its winning coalition on a platform of transparency and full disclosure in government. In our mind, that also includes campaign contributions. We pledge to fully and pro-actively disclose all information about this event as the facts are known to us.
Ralph H. Lee
Treasurer, on behalf of the Executive Committee of the New Leadership Coalition