Cueto spends twice as much as Evans raises

By Ann Knef | Aug 1, 2006

Republican candidate for St. Clair County Circuit Judge Paul Evans raised $20,790 between Jan. 1 and June 30, according to a semi-annual report filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections on Monday.

His opponent in the Nov. 7 general election, two-term incumbent Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto, raised more than five times that amount in the same period, $114,490. Cueto is running on the Democratic ticket.

Rather than run for retention -- the process followed by sitting circuit judges every six years -- Cueto withdrew last December to run for election to the same position.

To win retention a judge must have 60 percent approval. An election victory requires only 51 percent.

Evans reported two donations of $1,000 or more. Mark J. Deschaine of Belleville donated a total of $1,100 and Secure Data Inc., an O'Fallon business, donated $1,800.

The largest contribution from a single source, $9,000, was transferred in from JUSTPAC, the political action committee of the Illinois Civil Justice League. The organization also paid for $3,762.52 in printing and media production.

Evans paid $3,870 on media production to John Pastouvic Communications in Elmhurst. His committee also paid David Tanzyus a $2,300 monthly contractual fee.

At the close of the reporting period, Evans had $5,072.39 on hand.

Cueto raised $39,250 in itemized individual contributions, but a whopping $71,440 in non-itemized contributions.

The greatest number of donations came from area attorneys. Cueto's largest contributors were Hinshaw & Culbertson of Chicago at $1,000, and Eloy Cueto of Troy at $600.

Cueto spent $41,353.32 and had $73,286.68 on hand at the end of the reporting period.

Contributors who give $150 or more must be named in financial disclosure reports filed with the state board. Lesser contributions do not have to be itemized.

At the least, Cueto would have had 476 people making individual contributions of less than $150.

Cueto's decision to run for election has sparked controversy.

A Southern Illinois University legal ethics professor said that his candidacy is not valid. According to the state constitution, the office of a judge is vacant upon death, resignation, retirement, removal, or at the end of a term without retention.

"He can't run for election," said Leonard Gross, a law professor at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. "It's not valid pursuant to the Illinois Constitution."

The Illinois Civil Justice League has indicated it may challenge the constitutionality of Cueto's election bid.

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