Government watchdogs call for federal investigation into local sales-tax push

October 30, 2014

The campaigns to increase sales taxes in Kankakee County have raised concerns from government watchdogs that school officials may have broken state electioneering laws while working with private financial firms to pass sales-tax referendums in Kankakee county as well as around the state.

Documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests by the Illinois Policy Institute show that some Kankakee school officials, including school superintendents, may have broken state law while using taxpayer resources to create campaigns to pass sales-tax increases. These documents also show that 12 counties across the state have worked closely with multiple private investment firms including Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. and Unicom-ARC on county sales tax increase referendums.

State and federal law prohibit elected and public school officials from using taxpayer resources to influence any ballot measure. The Illinois Policy Institute has submitted official complaints and requests for review with local, state and federal investigators to conduct investigations into any wrongdoing or corruption involved in proposed sales-tax referendums in Kankakee County.

Below is a list of the 14 Illinois counties with similar sales-tax referendums on the Nov. 4 ballot:

  • Calhoun County
  • Carroll County
  • Edwards County
  • Gallatin County
  • Greene County
  • Jersey County
  • Kankakee County
  • Macoupin County
  • Morgan County
  • Moultrie County
  • Piatt County
  • Wayne County
  • White County
  • Whiteside County

Additional details on local sales-tax referendums across the state can be found online here:

The official complaint for Kankakee County from the Illinois Policy Institute can be found online here: