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Report: Not All Campaign Donations From Gambling Industry Tied To Legislation

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — While money is a factor in political decisions, it’s not the only factor.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Alex Degman reports, campaign donations from the gambling industry aren’t necessarily related to the recent passage of a major Illinois gambling expansion, a review of donations from the industry to lawmakers shows.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Alex Degman reports

David Morrison of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform says lawmakers, both Democratic and Republican, collectively received hundreds of thousands of dollars from casinos, horse tracks and other interests – but that doesn’t mean the contributions are tied to one piece of legislation.

“We’re all trying to figure out why that money changed hands,” he said. “It’s entirely possible that many of these checks were not related to conversations about this particular bill at all, but about something else entirely.”

Morrison says there is no mechanism to force donors to say why they’re donating money, and there likely never will be. Similarly, he says lawmakers take lobbyists’ money all the time via dinner and drinks or otherwise, but don’t always vote for their legislation.

“One of the standard responses people say to me is, ‘If you can’t take their money, drink their liquor and eat their food, then you don’t belong in this game,’” Morrison said.