Watch ICPR’s Garrett and Brune debate w/Berkowitz whether there is too much (or too little) money in IL Politics on Cable/Web


ICPR Executive Director Sarah Brune: I also disagree with [Berkowitz] that more money [spent on political advertising] equals more educational information for voters.

ICPR Chair Susan Garrett: Maybe somebody else [other than a wealthy self- funder] would like to run for Governor- maybe a woman…

Tonight’s Chicago Metro edition of Public Affairs, airing in 24 North and Northwest Chicago suburbs, features Sarah Brune, Executive Director, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (“ICPR”) and Susan Garrett, previously State Senator (D- Lake Forest) and currently Chair of the Board, ICPR.

Tonight’s show airs in the suburbs at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Ch. 19 or Comcast Cable Ch. 35, as indicated, below:

Comcast Cable Ch. 19 in Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, parts of Inverness, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette and on

Comcast Cable Ch. 35 in  Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Glenview, Golf, Des Plaines, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Schaumburg, Skokie, Streamwood and Wheeling.

The show also airs every day this week at 8:30 am and 8:30 pm in Evanston on Cable Ch. 6

You can also watch the show 24/7 by clicking here.

The show airs in Aurora and Rockford later in the week and those airing schedules will be posted at this blog tomorrow.

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During the show, host Jeff Berkowitz debates and discusses with Brune and Garrett whether there is too much money and advertising in Illinois or U. S. politics—or perhaps not enough.

After all, we consumers seem to like a great deal of information about various goods and services we purchase, including automobiles and a variety of other consumer durables, education (k-12 through higher education), healthcare, housing and entertainment, just to name a few.

Shouldn’t we voters also want a great deal of information and advertising about our political choices—and if so, why not the current system that we use for financing the provision of that information—through advertising and other mechanisms.

During the show, Berkowitz, Garrett and Brune apply and question the applicability of the above line of reasoning to the 2018 Governor’s race, speaking in particular about Governor Rauner and Democratic Primary candidates, including venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker, businessman Chris Kennedy, State Senator Daniel Biss and Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar.

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ICPR Chair Susan Garrett: Maybe somebody else [other than a wealthy self- funder] would like to run for Governor, maybe a woman and that woman is saying okay, here I am, I don’t have access to 70 million dollars, I can’t self-fund, so how can I put myself in this type of a race?  So it excludes, it excludes people who might even be more talented from running from office and that’s what make [these wealthy self-funders] troubling.

ICPR Executive Director Sarah Brune: I also disagree with your point that more money equals more educational information for voters. I think if we see $5 million worth of ads in a legislative district, those ads are not necessarily substantive and in 2016, we saw very few substantive ads and especially toward the end, they only offered a competing narrative to almost confuse voters to really make them feel disengaged from the process because they don’t see a substantive discussion of the issues.

Former State Senator Garrett [D-Lake Forest]: They are negative ads. That’s how people can win.

Jeff Berkowitz: …we have the First Amendment which guarantees Free Speech and the Courts have sort of said money is speech, that’s a U. S. Supreme Court decision,  Citizens’ United, I’m sure you both favor Citizens United, I’m just being facetious, you may not, but it is the Law of the Land, and you know, deciding what is useful to a voter, or not—It is not really for us to decide. This is a relationship between the candidates and their voters. Just like when you buy a Lexus or an Audi, the relationship is between Lexus, Audi and all of the car manufacturers and their consumers.

Senator Garrett: This is public policy. These campaigns, these elections affect people’s lives. And, so I would hate to compare a campaign to a vehicle, to an automobile. The stakes couldn’t be higher in Illinois right now. And, you’ve got candidates who can just bankroll themselves…

Ed. Note: I took the conversation back to the 2018 Governor’s race, but if I hadn’t, I might have pointed out to my guests that (1) driving in an unsafe car might be even more dangerous than electing the “Wrong” Governor. Governors kill very few people, and unsafe cars kill quite a few and (2) If the election is more important than an auto purchase, society might want to spend as much, or more, per capita, on political advertising for Governor, as we do on advertising and informing consumers about an auto purchase.

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