The Illinois State Board of Elections has dismissed McHenry Township Trustee Bob Anderson’s complaint against a political action committee, records show.
Anderson filed the complaint against Citizens for Facts First in March. He alleged that the PAC failed to report legal costs for three separate court appearances related to an effort to remove a referendum asking voters whether the McHenry Township Road District should be abolished and consolidated into the township.
The matter was dismissed at the board’s June 18 meeting.
Anderson also alleged that Citizens for Facts First did not report $570 in contributions from the Citizens to Re-Elect Bob Miller committee, records show.
Both Township Supervisor Craig Adams and PAC Treasurer Carol Perschke were named as respondents in the complaint.
A preliminary closed hearing was held on the matter April 23.
From Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, the committee only reported a $197.85 legal expense to Hibbs Law LLC, according to quarterly reports from the Illinois Board of Elections.
Anderson said the township spent more than $15,000 on legal fees in the same matter and expected the committee would have similar expenses.
Perschke told the election board at the hearing that the committee had nothing to do with the lawsuit. She gave the board an affidavit from Genna Hibbs of Hibbs Law regarding the situation.
McHenry Township residents including Robert Beltran and Judith Gottlieb hired Hibbs Law to represent them in the case. Perschke wrote the $197.85 check, but it was not for services provided to the committee, she said.
Beltran had set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to pay for the legal bills and initially told contributors to make checks payable to Citizens for Facts First without asking the committee if that was OK, Perschke said at the hearing.
When committee members heard checks were being written to them, they asked Beltran to remove those instructions.
Contributions already had been made to the PAC, however, Perschke said.
After the fundraiser was dissolved, Beltran gave those contributions to the committee and requested the committee use the money to pay the law firm on his behalf, Perschke said.
Perschke also said the funds from the Citizens to Re-Elect Bob Miller campaign came in before Citizens for Facts First had reached the $5,000 donation threshold that would require them to file as a committee.
The election board was scheduled to discuss the matter again at its June 18 meeting, but no one connected with the case showed up, records show.
The hearing officer for the matter – Clinton Jenkins – had recommended the board dismiss the case because he didn’t think the allegations were justified, records show,
The matter officially was dismissed because neither party showed up to the June meeting, records show.
Anderson has been fighting to cut down on the number of governmental entities in Illinois for decades, but voters defeated a referendum to abolish the McHenry Township Road District with more than 68% of the vote.
Anderson said he didn’t go to the June 18 meeting because the complaint already had been recommended for dismissal, and he had no rebuttal to the GoFundMe explanation.
“After that, I had no way to say that the group raised that money,” Anderson said. “I couldn’t prove that.”
A federal judge ultimately rejected the township residents’ lawsuit in October.