With an early vote underway in Illinois, self-funded third-party Senate candidate Willie Wilson has yet to file his financial disclosure report, and neither has GOP candidate Mark Curran.
Wilson is a businessman who said he was wealthy enough to invest $ 5 million of his own money into his Senate bid. He also ran for mayor in 2019 and 2015, and in those races he did not disclose any income on the City of Chicago Declaration of Financial Interest form that candidates for city office are required. to depose.
Wilson answered no to the question about the Chicago Disclosure Report by asking, “In 2017, were you an employee, officer, director, partner, partner or owner or in an advisory capacity to any professional, business or other organization?” (other than your job or appointment in the city) from which you received or derived income in excess of $ 1,000.00? ”
When he showed up in 2015, Wilson ticked off a non-similar when asked the same question about his business in 2013.
Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Regularly files his financial returns in the Senate and takes the extra step – and this is rare – of voluntarily attaching to the disclosure report the federal income tax return that he files jointly with his wife, Loretta.
When the three candidates met with the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board on Friday, September 18, Durbin said at the end that Curran and Wilson had not filed their disclosures in the Senate.
Durbin said in the approval session that his opponents should “consider following and obeying the law themselves.” Durbin said deposits are due – and that includes time extensions granted – by September 12.
Neither Curran nor Wilson stepped in to challenge Durbin’s comments.
The Government Ethics Act and Senate Rules require senators and candidates to file public financial disclosure reports with the Secretary of the Senate.
Wilson spokesperson F. Scott Winslow told the Sun-Times in a statement that the Senate disclosure rules are “largely written to prevent the use of government resources for campaigning purposes, they therefore apply widely to elected officials “.
This is incorrect.
The purpose of the public disclosure report is to shed light on the assets, income, and other financial details of Senators, staff, and candidates. This information is often crucial when it comes to conflict of interest issues.
And regarding the issue of potential conflict: Wilson’s business activities appear ripe for scrutiny as he called himself an “international businessman” when asked about his profession in the Chicago application questionnaire. Sun-Times. Even though Illinoisians vote, we don’t know – in anything written that is official – any details about Wilson’s finances.
Wilson said he had a medical supply business and that in response to the COVID-19 crisis he donated millions of disposable face masks in Illinois.
The Special Senate Committee on Ethics states the goal of requiring disclosure of personal financial information on its website: “Public disclosure of a public official’s personal financial interests is often seen as the key element of a effective code of conduct. …. full and complete disclosure ”(is) the core of the Code of Conduct.
Winslow said in a text that Wilson’s report will be tabled by “October 3rd deadline.”
The claim that October 3 is the deadline is a very generous reading of the rules. In any case, it shows that the Wilson campaign did not want to comply with disclosure requirements until it considered the last possible day.
Wilson and Curran both signed a declaration of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission in August 2019. Disclosure instructions from the Special Ethics Committee suggest that Wilson and Curran should have filed their first disclosure by December 15, 2019, since they became candidates in 2019.
Curran, in an interview with the Sun-Times, said he had had major “technical difficulties” in filing his report with the Senate. He said Thursday he was trying to give evidence.
As for not filing until October, Curran said, “I don’t blame anybody else… I didn’t file it, I mean I didn’t know I had to file it. No one told me. I spoke to a lot of people to get ready for this race and… we didn’t know it was necessary.