McHenry Co. (ECWd) -
Records recovered from a hard drive of the Road District reflect Anna May Miller, a former employee of the Road District and wife of the former Highway Commissioner Bob Miller, created documents tied directly to political work, to include campaigning. Although the document was created on a Saturday, it was later modified during the weekday and during work hours of the Township according to metadata in the file. Considering the Township Clerk has been unable to produce time cards for that time frame, we don't know if she was compensated on those days. However, we do know the document was on a public computer hard drive, which means public property and resources have been misappropriated for political matters.
"Enclosed you will find a SAMPLE ballot indicating my suggestions for the various offices"
"Marc Munaretto has a solid history of strong financial management which he has pledged to use to the advantage of Algonquin Township. He questions the large cash reserve the current supervisor has acquired all the while increasing the levy. His understanding of the complicated tax levy process and his promise of tax levy stabilization or reduction is impressive and will result in tangible savings for our property owners."
"My trustee suggestions are committed to preserving the many township programs we have come to rely on and unlike their challengers are not interested in cutting our programs"
Another document recovered outlines political strategy for the 2013 Primary which included direct mail to targeted voters. This plan was created in December of 2012 during work hours and was also recovered from the public computer hard drive of the Road District.
The creation of the letter to neighbors points to the solicitation of votes for certain candidates, however, we only have hearsay that the letter was actually distributed. Distributed or not, the use of public property in this fashion points to violations of the State Ethics Act.
Another document recovered from the hard drive was also created on a work day and during work hours. Metadata reflects Anna May created it.
"Thank you to the League of Women Voters for providing this opportunity for candidates to introduce themselves to their voters."
In Illinois, there is a law known as the State Ethics Act. That law requires government entities, with the exception of community college districts, to adopt an ordinance or resolution that regulates, in a manner no less restrictive than Section 5-15 and Article 10 of the Act the political activities of officers and employees of the governmental entity and (ii) the soliciting and accepting of gifts by and the offering and making of gifts to officers and employees of the governmental entity.
(5 ILCS 430/70-5)
Sec. 70-5. Adoption by governmental entities.
(a) Within 6 months after the effective date of this Act, each governmental entity other than a community college district, and each community college district within 6 months after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 95th General Assembly, shall adopt an ordinance or resolution that regulates, in a manner no less restrictive than Section 5-15 and Article 10 of this Act (i) the political activities of officers and employees of the governmental entity and (ii) the soliciting and accepting of gifts by and the offering and making of gifts to officers and employees of the governmental entity.
Section 5-15 deals with political matters and while the state law points to state employees, the same applies to officials and employees of public bodies under the requirement to adopt such a policy no less restrictive. That being the case, when you read "State employees", note that it applies equally to local government officials and employees.
Points of interest from the law:
- (5 ILCS 430/5-15) Sec. 5-15. Prohibited political activities.
- (a) State employees shall not intentionally perform any prohibited political activity during any compensated time (other than vacation, personal, or compensatory time off).
- State employees shall not intentionally misappropriate any State property or resources by engaging in any prohibited political activity for the benefit of any campaign for elective office or any political organization.
- (7) Soliciting votes on behalf of a candidate for elective office or a political organization or for or against any referendum question or helping in an effort to get voters to the polls.
- (11) Distributing, preparing for distribution, or mailing campaign literature, campaign signs, or other campaign material on behalf of any candidate for elective office or for or against any referendum question.
- (12) Campaigning for any elective office or for or against any referendum question.
"Campaign for elective office" means any activity in furtherance of an effort to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any individual to any federal, State, or local public office or office in a political organization,
These and many other documents to be disclosed in the future point to the Miller's conducting a vast amount of private business and politics with government resources. One document, in particular, was a list of 1,585 potential Republican $1,000.00 donors. Such a list has no place on a Township Road District computer or any other public computer. While we understand some will want this donor document published, we felt it would be inappropriate to provide such a list as these people did not ask to be placed inappropriately on a public computer. While their names may appear in a public record after making a donation, this list is a target donor list and will not be disclosed in an article.
The State's Attorney believes he does have the hard drive containing this information. We don't know if the statute of limitations will be tolled or not considering the evidence was only recently discovered.
The letter to "neighbors" can be viewed below or downloaded at this link.