Madison and St. Clair attorneys play substantial roles in financing Illinois politics

By The Madison County Record | Oct 30, 2014

Lawyers whose home bases are located in Madison and St. Clair counties play substantial roles in Illinois politics.

East Alton asbestos lawyer John Simmons gave Illinois Democrats $489,000 in two years, and Edwardsville asbestos lawyer Randy Gori gave them $440,449.

Tom Keefe of Swansea led St. Clair County lawyers, giving Democrats $274,430.

Records through Oct. 29 show Simmons, Gori, and Keefe gave modest amounts to local candidates, saving the big checks for the party and its statewide leaders.

Near the end of the current campaign, each of them gave $21,100 to the Illinois Democratic Party and $21,100 to the party’s Democratic Majority committee.

They helped the party prop up candidates in legislative races around the state.

Each of them gave more than $6,000 to Kate Cloonen of Kankakee, and each gave $4,500 to Jenny Burke of Itasca, $4,000 to Bill Kilquist of Carbondale, $3,000 to Deborah Conroy of Villa Park, and $2,500 to Mike Zalewski of Chicago

Gori delivered $176,700 to Democrats in September and October, including $15,250 for the party in Madison County, $15,000 for Gov. Pat Quinn, and $10,500 for House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Simmons delivered $184,400, including $10,500 for Madigan, $10,000 for the party in St. Clair County, and $7,500 for the party in Madison County.

Keefe delivered $126,480, including $11,000 for Quinn, $5,000 for St. Clair County Democrats, and $2,500 for Madison County Democrats.

Through the full two year election cycle, Simmons, Gori, and Keefe delivered $1,203,879.

That almost exactly matches the amount that class action lawyer Stephen Tillery of St. Louis raised in 12 days, to oppose retention of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier.

Tillery associates George Zelcs and Christine Moody each contributed $600,000 to Campaign for 2016, the group opposing Karmeier.

Class action lawyer Robert Clifford of Chicago gave the group $150,000, bringing the two year total of his Illinois contributions to $618,650.

Clifford gave $108,800 to Quinn, $42,200 each to the state party and Democratic Majority, $25,000 to Secretary of State Jesse White, $21,100 to Senate Democratic Victory, $21,000 to Speaker Madigan, and $5,800 to Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Like Simmons, Gori, and Keefe, he gave more than $6,000 to Cloonen, $4,500 to Burke, $4,000 to Kilquist, $3,000 to Conroy, and $2,500 to Zalewski.

Simmons and Clifford each gave the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association $40,000 over two years, while Keefe and Gori each gave the group $30,000.

The trial lawyers gave $25,000 to Democratic Majority this April, and gave $25,000 to the state party in August.

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Illinois Supreme Court Illinois Trial Lawyers Association

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