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BGA: Calumet City Pol Used Campaign Funds For Miami Trip

Better Government Association logo. (Credit: BGA)

Better Government Association logo. (Credit: BGA)

Jim Williams (CBS) Jim Williams
Jim Williams, a native Chicagoan, co-anchors the CBS 2 Chicago Wee...
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CALUMET CITY, Ill. (CBS) — In the aftermath of former Congressman Jesse Jackson Junior’s conviction for misusing campaign funds, there’s been increased scrutiny of how politicians use the money donated by supporters.

Now, the Better Government Association has found another lawmaker with questionable expenses.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams takes a look at this BGA investigation.

Miami Beach: the ocean, the nightlife. People from all over the world flock to this glamour capital, including a politician with two jobs, Illinois State Representative and Calumet City Alderman, Thaddeus Jones.

He used campaign funds to come to a film festival in Miami Beach last summer.

“It’s an apparent violation of the rules. They’re not intended for film junkets,” said Andrew Schroedter.

Better Government Association senior investigator Andrew Schroedter learned Jones paid a hotel in Miami $1,069, money pulled from his campaign fund.

And that’s not all. The BGA, using the Freedom of Information Act, found that Jones convinced the local government in Calumet City to write a check for the same Miami trip, $2,378 from the south suburb.

“We can’t think of a good reason why a Calumet City alderman would be attending a film fest in general,” said Schroedter.

Schroedter pointed out another problem: Jones hasn’t explained how he used all the taxpayer money.

“So what we have here is an apparent misuse of campaign funds as well as what appears to be the improper invoicing of the city for an expense he didn’t incur.” said Schroedter.

CBS 2 caught up with Representative Jones today in Springfield. When asked to justify his Miami trip, and his reply was “It’s justified from the city council; it’s approved.”

According to a letter Jones sent to the city council, he said he went to the film festival because he intends to make a movie about Calumet City. It appears so far that movie hasn’t been produced.

Representative Jones told us he’s also used campaign funds to attend events hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus and the Illinois Municipal League.