Senate President John Cullerton’s resignation came as a shock to many of his fellow Democrats last week. However, a new investigative report says that Cullerton’s campaign finances are in shambles and could be a possible impetus for his abrupt retirement announcement on Friday.
According to WCIA’s Mark Maxwell, the four separate campaign funds Cullerton controlled sit in varying degrees of debt and disarray. Several members of the party complained to Cullerton about what they perceived as a “mismanagement of funds.” Records filed at the State Board of Elections show the Senate Democratic Victory Fund took on $630,000 in debt in the final weeks of the 2018 election cycle.
According to Maxwell’s research on the topic Cullerton’s campaign accounts lost tens of thousands of dollars in risky investments, paid out high fees to brokers, navigated through software glitches, and submitted campaign finance reports that Cullerton now acknowledges were littered with discrepancies and inaccuracies that, on the surface, appeared to some Democratic senators to look more like a lack of transparency.
Maxwell says that Cullerton’s dismissal of top aide Liz Nicholson in September was a clash over compensation bonuses she said was due for helping win state Democrats elections. Cullerton has alleged that Nicholson began to poorly invest campaign finances and mismanaged the funds prior to her exit after nearly two decades of work together. The research also says that Cullerton has a $100,000 campaign egg allowed for personal use at a bank owned by close Cullerton associates.
Despite the questions, Cullerton’s job has already begun receiving interest. Bunker Hill Senator Andy Manar, a former aide to Cullerton, has had his name passed around as a possible replacement when the Senate caucuses in January to name Cullerton’s replacement.