Giannoulias Isn't Paying His Bills. Just Like Illinois! - NBC Chicago
Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Giannoulias Isn't Paying His Bills. Just Like Illinois!



    Giannoulias Isn't Paying His Bills. Just Like Illinois!
    AFP/Getty Images
    Can Alexi Survive Broadway?
    Giannoulias' family bank was seized by federal regulators on April 24, 2010, and Alexi immediately went into damage control. Can he repair his image before November? Let's not forget about his ties to alleged check-kiter Nick Giannis and a host of other less than reputable characters.

    Note: A previous version of this article implied that State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is responsible for paying the state's bills. That duty actually falls to Comptroller Dan Hynes.

    Ever since the February primary Mark Kirk has been attacking Alexi Giannoulias for his lack of financial savvy.

    As a former banker and a state treasurer, Kirk argues, Giannoulias sure can’t handle money very well.

    Now, Kirk may have more ammunition: as of June 30, Giannoulias still had $200,000 in campaign debts left over from the primary.

    Among those who haven’t been paid, according to Politico: the consulting firm Adelstein Litson, which produces Giannoulias’ TV ads. Giannoulias owes them $61,000. He also owes his staff $41,450 in bonuses.

    This is a legacy of Giannoulias’s horrible spring, when he raised only $900,000 -- less than half Kirk’s $2.3 million. That wasn’t all Giannoulias’s fault: he was sinking in the polls after his family’s bank was seized by the feds. But Giannoulias has also been taking the moralistic stand of refusing to accept money from corporate PACs and federal lobbyists. That makes for good headlines, but it has also put him in the position of not being able to pay his bills.

    Giannoulias’s campaign finances are disturbingly similar to Illinois' finances. Illinois has a $4.7 billion backlog of unpaid bills, and has been stiffing health care providers and other vendors all year. To be fair, the state's bills are the purview of comptroller Dan Hynes and not Treasurer Giannoulias (See Section 17.)

    Still, as a result of Giannoulias’s fundraiser failures, his campaign has become a ward of the Obama Administration. The White House has been sending bigger and bigger stars to Chicago to bring in money for Giannoulias -- culminating with the president himself on Aug. 5 -- and this week, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe was dispatched to assure the state that Alexi will have enough money to compete with Kirk.

    Giannoulias spokesman Kathleen Strand says the campaign’s bills will be paid “in due time,” and points to “a real surge of momentum in fundraising” as proof that Giannoulias will have enough money to beat Kirk.

    We’re sure Giannoulias’s creditors hope “in due time” means “as soon as the president raises me a lot of money.” Illinois may be the land of unpaid bills, but that doesn’t mean we want a senator who can’t pay his bills.