The Madison County Record Sep. 6, 2016, 5:30pm


The Illinois Civil Justice League’s recent report detailing campaign contributions to Illinois politicians and judges shows the magnitude of the trial bar’s influence in state government and the courts. 

The study doesn’t, however, include trial bar contributions to candidates for federal office, which also is significant, especially in the 12th Congressional District. 

The current contest pits Democrat challenger C.J. Baricevic against freshman incumbent Mike Bost, a Republican from Carbondale. 

Lawyers provided at least 36 percent of the campaign cash for Baricevic through June 30, according to his current report at the Federal Election Commission. 

Individuals who identified themselves as lawyers or attorneys contributed $273,980 to a campaign that took in a total of $748,791. 

Adding contributions of their spouses would push the total above $300,000. 

Lawyers at the Alton asbestos firm of John Simmons contributed $27,000. 

Those at the St. Louis asbestos firm of Maune Raichle contributed $26,150. 

Those at the Edwardsville asbestos firm of Gori Julian contributed $24,800. 

Those at Becker Hoerner in Belleville contributed $16,270. 

Those at Bruce Cook’s firm in Belleville contributed $11,425. 

Those at Clyde Kuehn’s firm in Belleville contributed $11,200. 

David Cates, of Cates and Mahoney in Swansea, contributed $5,400, and Lauren Cates of the same firm contributed $2,700. 

Their mother Judy Cates, a justice at the Fifth District appellate court, contributed $5,400, and their father Darrell Cates contributed $2,700. 

Jerald Bonifield, Timothy Cronin, Christopher Cueto, John Driscoll, Rhonda Fiss, State Rep. Jay Hoffman, John Kurowski, Russell Scott, and John Kurowski each contributed $5,400. 

Michael Nester contributed $3,000, and Brendan Nester contributed $2,000. 

Chicago lawyers contributed $19,150, including $2,700 from class action leader Robert Clifford and $2,700 from Keith Hebeisen of his firm. 

Baricevic’s law partner, Grey Chatham, contributed $2,063. 

Baricevic contributed $5,000 to himself, marking it as personal donation. 

His father, St. Clair County chief judge John Baricevic, contributed $5,400, as did his mother Marti Baricevic. 

Tom Keefe’s firm contributed more than any other, but not through lawyers alone. 

Keefe contributed $5,400, son Thomas Keefe III contributed $2,700, Samantha Unsell contributed $5,400, and six office workers each contributed $2,700. 

The Foundation for Accountability and Civil Trust, in Washington, D.C., suspects that Keefe passed contributions through the six in violation of campaign law. 

The group has asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate.

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