Illinois watchdog group questions House candidate Acklin's campaign contributions
A self-appointed Illinois watchdog group is questioning state House candidate Jim Acklin’s campaign contributions in light of his statement that he “won’t be beholden to any special interest group” because his campaign money is coming from District 102.
During a District 102 Republican candidate forum last month, the (Champaign) News-Gazette reported that Acklin, a former school administrator, said on three separate occasions that he “won’t be beholden to any special interest group or to any political benefactor. I’ll be an independent voice for people in this district.”
After the forum, Acklin was asked who he was referring to and admitted he was talking about fellow Republican candidate Brad Halbrook, who has been endorsed by Gov. Bruce Rauner and received two separate campaign contributions of $5,400 from the governor and his wife.
Acklin went on to say the money he has received for his campaign is coming from within the district.
“That goes back to where our money is coming from," Acklin said. "Our money is coming from District 102. That’s not necessarily the case with my opponents. I’m just saying follow the money.”
Edgar County Watchdogs took Acklin's advice and did some digging. After looking at Acklin’s fillings with the Illinois Board of Education, the watchdog group allegedly found that $136,900 of the $166,650 Acklin received in campaign contributions (82 percent) has come from outside the district.
“If a person is beholden to special interests groups based on where the money comes from as Acklin is implying, is Acklin not beholden to the outside groups supporting his campaign?” Edgar County Watchdogs wrote on its website. “Groups that, contrary to his claim, are clearly outside the district. Considering big labor and teachers unions have dumped over $100K into his campaign does anyone believe that he is not going to vote to represent their interests instead of those in the district.”
Since deciding to join the race, Acklin has emphasized he is not a politician and believes his experience in education will enable him to be a “vocal advocate for our children’s future.” He also plans to be a voice for Illinois farmers, and “fight against the over-burdensome regulations that make it harder for them to feed the world.”
“Jim won’t be beholden to any special interest or political benefactor,” his website states. “He’ll cast independent votes and work on policies that benefit taxpayers, students, job creators, and those in need of a true safety net.”
Acklin and Halbrook are running against Randy Peterson of Paris in the Republican primary.