SPRINGFIELD — Champaign Democrat Mike Frerichs says that if elected state treasurer, he wouldn’t permit his staff or their family members to contribute to his political campaign, nor “ask, coerce or force any treasurer’s office employee” to work for his campaign.
Frerichs, who is currently a state senator representing most of Champaign and Vermilion counties, also said he would cut the publicly funded travel the current state treasurer, Republican Dan Rutherford, uses to promote the I-CASH program, which helps link Illinois residents with unclaimed property.
Rutherford has also come under fire after a former employer claimed that he did political work for the treasurer — a GOP candidate for governor earlier this year — on government time.
Asked where Rutherford “went wrong,” Frerichs said, “I think perhaps our current treasurer was too focused on the next step in office rather than doing the job he was elected to do.”
Frerichs said his series of reforms would “look much different than it does today. I will work to restore the integrity of the treasurer’s office by cutting waste and ensuring that politics does not play any part in the office.”
“Let me reiterate,” he said, “I will never use state funds for political purposes.”
Frerichs said he would continue to accept campaign contributions from banks and other financial institutions. He said, however, that such institutions would be disqualified under the law from taking state deposits.
“If they’re not doing business with the state of Illinois, (they) should have the right and ability to express their voice and participate in our democracy. If they want to do business and they expect something in return, then they are sadly mistaken,” Frerichs said at a news conference at a Springfield hotel Tuesday. “Because if they are contributing to my campaign, they will not be doing business with me as state treasurer.”
In recent months, the Frerichs campaign has received either direct or in-kind contributions from the Illinois League of Financial Institutions, the Illinois Small Loan Association, the Community Bankpac and the Credit Union political action committee.
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