Bremen district board member cleared by election board
Larry Canning did not violate election law during his recent re-election to the Bremen High School District 228 Board of Education, an Illinois State Board of Elections (SBE) hearing officer determined recently.
Patrick Gordon, a local political activist who filed the complaint against Canning, said that while the decision is a setback, it does not necessarily end his efforts to hold Canning accountable for alleged campaign improprieties.
“He could've had a $5,000 fine; I would've loved to see that," Gordon told the South Cook News. "It irritates me that he is getting away with all of this."
Gordon had accused Canning of not reactivating his Parents for Progress political action committee once it reached the $5,000 limit for undisclosed contribution limit.
SBE hearing examiner Andy Nauman determined that “the allegations made and the alleged statutory provision that were alleged to have been violated don’t match up in this proceeding... ."
Canning ran on a slate known as the Parents for Progress in 2015, but then said he deactivated the committee. Several of the same candidates ran again this year, but individually. While Nauman agreed with the contention that they ostensibly still represented the same PAC, Gordon's real case should have been based on whether Canning had properly deactivated his committee two years ago.
“I believe the Respondent should have reactivated their political action committee,” Nauman wrote. “I understand that Mr. Canning thought he was functioning within the constraints of the Act, however, I do not believe the group’s actions corresponded with their intentions. Mr. Canning is correct that non-partisan candidates can individually from candidate committees or the group of candidates can form a political action committee. However, I believe the evidence and information that came out of the hearing shows the candidates functioned as one unit.”
Nauman also wrote that at least one of Canning’s former running mates exceeded campaign finance limits.
Gordon said Nauman told him that he could file a complaint regarding the deactivation, but Gordon has not said whether he intends to do so.