September 12, 2016

Presentation focuses on campaign finance reform

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A presentation next week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will help shed light on campaign finance reform in the state.

Sarah Brune, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, will be one of the speakers at an event at 5 p.m., Monday, Sept. 19, in Student Center Ballroom B. She will discuss “Following Campaign Cash: Looking Online at Illinois Campaign for Political Reform’s Sunshine Database.”

The event is free and the public is welcome, although an RSVP to is encouraged. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is sponsoring the event.

The non-partisan, non-profit Illinois Campaign for Political Reform was founded in 1997 by former U.S. Sen. and institute founder Paul Simon and then-Lt. Gov. Robert Kustra. The organization focuses on reform of Illinois’ campaign finance laws, government ethics, judicial selection and voter education. The ICPR was first in the nation to put state-level campaign finance reports into a searchable online database, according to the organization.

ICPR has developed good online tools for tracking political campaign spending in Illinois and will demonstrate how the system works and how people can utilize it, David Yepsen, institute director, said.

“It will be a good session for students, faculty and people in the community who are looking at ways to track money in politics for themselves. People should bring their laptops,” he said.

American politics is “awash in campaign money today,” Yepsen said.

“Recent court rulings have held that campaign donations are a form of free speech. In the past, it’s been constitutional for governments to regulate some of this campaign contributing and spending but that’s becoming more difficult,” he said.

“One thing to do is use the tools that are there -- like disclosure reports -- to better understand where the money is coming from in politics, how the campaign finance system works, and where the money goes,” Yepsen said.

For more information on the program, contact the institute at 618/453-4009 or visit