State Representative Suddenly Remembers $925,000 In Campaign Spending | WBEZ
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State Representative Suddenly Remembers $925,000 In Campaign Spending

llinois State Representative Ken Dunkin seems to have temporarily forgotten about $925,000 in campaign spending. 

Dunkin, whose district cuts a narrow north-south path from 79th Street to the Near North Side, broke rank with fellow Democrats last year in their standoff with Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

The primary for his seat that followed, against newcomer Juliana Stratton, drew more campaign dollars than any state-legislative race in Illinois history. 

Last weekend, Dunkin filed reports showing that, having received record-breaking sums during the campaign, he had left most of that money—more than a million dollars—unspent. 

Turns out, he just forgot to report it. On Thursday night, he filed an amended report, showing $925,735.04 in additional spending.

Such dramatic revisions are “really quite unusual,” said election-law attorney Richard Means. “Amendments are designed for corrections of small errors, and here, whatever the error is, is pretty massive.”

The new report shows more than $235,000 in “non-itemized” spending—meaning there’s no record of what the money was spent on. 

Under law, campaigns must itemize every expense of more than $150— including multiple payments to a single vendor that add up to more than $150. 

Sarah Brune is executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform. She says that while a revision of this size is unusual, it may well represent a simple accounting error. 

“My first impression is that maybe they just need to pay a little more attention to their filing and their bookkeeping,” Brune said. “But this being Illinois, you never know.”

Dunkin did not return a phone call seeking comment. 

Dan Weissmann is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow him @danweissmann.

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