Key findings

  • Democrat Aurelia Pucinski, who led her opponent by 20 points a month before the Illinois Supreme Court Democratic primary, lost by 28 points after a political action committee spent $200,000 on mailers calling her “anti-choice” the week before the election.
  • Personal PAC, the group responsible for the mailers, was not a super PAC at the time. However, Illinois contribution limits are so high — PACs can accept $50,000 per year from corporations and $10,000 per year from individuals — that “regular” PACs can have an impact nearing that of super PACs.
  • Because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, super PACs can accept unlimited donations from wealthy individuals, corporations and labor unions and use the money to attack or support a candidate. The decision essentially invalidated laws that limited outside spending groups in 24 states, including Illinois.