Quinn Returns Tainted Coal Cash - NBC Chicago
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Quinn Returns Tainted Coal Cash

Money was donated by mining company through Douglas County Dems



    After news broke that a campaign contribution he received from a coal mining was directed through a state employee charged with mining company regulation, Gov. Quinn has donated the money to charity.

    Quinn received $5,000 from Douglas County Democratic Party, which is chaired by Michael Woods, who also happened to be the acting director of the Office of Mines and Minerals at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

    The amount Quinn received was part of a contribution to the Douglas County Dems by Foresight Energy Services of St. Louis, a coal mining company that operates four Illinois sites.

    Campaign disclosure records show that Foresight last August gave $10,000 to the Douglas County Democrats, a highly unusual sum given that the organization generally had no more than $4,000 on hand.

    Within a few days of Foresight’s $10,000 donation to the Douglas County Democrats, officials disbursed much of it to Democratic candidates and other party organizations outside of Douglas County.

    The largest sum — $5,000 — went to Gov. Pat Quinn’s re-election campaign. Another $1,200 went to the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association. And $250 went to the campaign fund of state Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign.

    Republicans, naturally and quite rightly, called on Quinn to return the cash:

    “After all the damage that’s been done to our state’s reputation on ethics, you’d think Gov. Quinn and Sen. Frerichs would know better,” said Andrew Welhouse, communications director for the Illinois Republican Party. “At the very least, both Gov. Quinn and Sen. Frerichs need to return this tainted cash immediately, and any other contributions they’ve had funneled to them in a similar way.”

    Quinn's questionable campaign contributions aren’t the first time the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has been in the news lately, either.

    Travis Loyd, a top DNR administrator, was forced to resign earlier this month amid questions from the Better Government Association, NBC 5 and other news outlets that he moonlighted as a professional bass fisherman while on paid sick leave from state government.

    For his part, Quinn gave $2,000 each to four charities—the Trooper Douglas Balder Benefit Fund, the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund, the Chicago Urban League and the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund—in the wake of revelations over the campaign contributions’ source.