Is Ald. Gardiner Currently Violating State Campaign Disclosure Laws?

A review of Ald. James Gardiner’s filings with the State Board of Elections raises more questions about his compliance with state laws. Following the resignation of his treasurer on July 8, Gardiner has neglected to name a replacement.

Ald. Gardiner on WTTW Chicago Tonight, 2019

Gardiner appears to be in violation of several provisions in the law, including:

  • According to the State Board of Elections website, “The law requires that every political committee have both a chair and a treasurer.”
  • State law prohibits campaign committees from accepting any contributions or spending any funds when a vacancy in treasurer exists, stating, ”No contribution and no expenditure shall be accepted or made by or on behalf of a political committee at a time when there is a vacancy in the office of chair or treasurer thereof.”
  • The law requires that candidates amend their committee statement of organization on file with the State “within 10 days” following any change in the committee’s officers.

Gardiner has operated without a treasurer for fifty days. While the law prohibits accepting or spending money with a vacancy, his filings with the State show he has accepted at least $9,500 in donations since his treasurer resigned, primarily from developers and those in the construction business.

State Board of Elections show Ald. Gardiner has had a vacancy in the treasurer position on his campaign committee for at least 50 days.

The treasurer is a critical role on a political committee, responsible for keeping detailed accounts, records, bills, receipts, and final verification of all information shown on official reports.” The treasurer’s role is also to advise campaign staff or volunteers on fundraising rules and reporting requirements, such as not accepting improper donations over $1,500 from city contractors.

We previously reported that Gardiner’s most recent campaign disclosure report was improperly signed with his former treasurer’s name, despite his earlier resignation from the committee. We also reported thousands of dollars in ActBlue donations which were improperly reported, hiding the names of the actual donors. After our report, Gardiner’s team submitted an email to the State Board correcting the previous ActBlue donations; however, there has been no correction or acknowledgement that he signed someone else’s name to his filing, attesting under penalty of the law that his former treasurer stood by the validity of the report.

Ald. Gardiner’s accountant sent this email correcting their improper reporting of ActBlue donations an hour after we contacted him about our July story.

We reached out to the State Board of Elections about this issue. They acknowledged that that the current state of the committee was improper and that they would be contacting Gardiner about this issue.

Related Stories

Ald. Gardiner’s Treasurer Quit, Yet Gardiner Still Files Under His Name (July 16, 2021)

O’Hare Contractor Lines Pockets of Three Aldermen (January 15, 2021)