UPDATE: Hughes: "Case Dropped" in Rockford Mayoral Candidate Investigation


UPDATE: 3/27/2013

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- An update on a complaint filed that states one of Rockford's mayoral candidates is breaking election laws.

This complaint centers around ads being run by the Rockford Police Benevolent and Protective Association. Democrat Jim Hughes tells 23 News he received a letter from the State Board of Elections, that says there is no connection between him and the police union and that the hearing officer feels the case should be dropped.

Incumbent Mayor Larry Morrissey filed a complaint that questions who's funding the ads and wants to know more about Hughes' connection. Since there is a link to the ads on his Facebook page and website. Morrissey tells us he is unaware of the ruling.


ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The Illinois State Board of Elections will be investigating whether there's been any illegal activity in the race for Rockford mayor.

Incumbent Larry Morrissey filed a complaint that stems from how his challenger, Democrat Jim Hughes, is using a series of recent ads published by the Rockford Police Union. Morrissey wants to know who paid for the police union ads, and he thinks the State Board of Elections should investigate Hughes' involvement.

“You cross the line when a candidate like Mr. Hughes put his logo and his entire campaign apparatus around the ad, in other words, it’s not independent. It's clearly connected, in terms of Mr. Hughes's activities, that’s what the public sees when they go to his Facebook page," says Morrissey.

Hughes has links to the ads on his campaign website and Facebook page, and even placed his logo over the radio commercial, but his campaign is not mentioned in versions that go out over the air.

“At no time have I talked to the police union or talked to anyone in regards to this commercial that was running. I took a piece of public information and put it on Facebook. There was no collusion,” Hughes adds, no money has changed hands either.

Mayor Morrissey also complains the union ads are airing within 60 days of the election, which he feels violates campaign law, especially since they appear to be "attack" ads.

“The law requires if you're going to be in a campaign, you have to have a committee. You have to file reports, that's not been done in this case” says Morrissey. “Taxpayers deserve to know. They need to know who is responsible for an ad and how much money is being spent on an ad."

Hughes says this is just a political stunt to hurt his chances in April.

"All this is, is a tool to try to make our campaign spend more money on legal fees so we can’t get the word out to the public, I think the mayor ought to be ashamed of himself," says Hughes.

Police union President Terry Peterson says Hughes has not been involved with these ads; they were created solely to provide information on geographic policing to the public and are in no way political. It is important to note, the police union and city are in the process of contract negotiations.

All three sides will meet to present their case to a hearing officer who will then determine whether there are grounds for the State Board of Elections to rule whether Mr. Hughes' actions violated campaign law.


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