Quinn, Frerichs donate tainted funds to charities

Gov. Pat Quinn and state Sen. Mike Frerichs say they have donated to charity tainted campaign contributions they received from the Douglas County Democratic Party.

In fact, said campaign spokeswoman Leslie Wertheimer, Quinn has given $2,000 each to four charities: the Trooper Douglas Balder Benefit Fund, the Illinois Military Family Relief Fund, the Chicago Urban League and the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Balder was badly injured in a traffic accident on Interstate 88 in northern Illinois last month. He is hospitalized at Loyola University Medical Center.

The News-Gazette reported earlier this week that Quinn had received $5,000 and Frerichs $250 from the Douglas County Democratic Party last August. That money apparently originated with Foresight Energy Services Co. of St. Louis, which operates coal mines in Illinois.

Foresight had given $10,000 to the Douglas County Democrats, whose chairman is Michael L. Woods Sr. of Tuscola, a state employee who is acting director of the Office of Mines and Minerals at the Department of Natural Resources. Days later, the Douglas County Democrats contributed $5,000 to Quinn and smaller amounts to other candidates, including Frerichs, who is a candidate for state treasurer.

Woods has been reassigned within the DNR while an internal investigation of his actions is conducted.

Quinn's campaign operation said Wednesday that it had redirected the campaign donation.

"To be clear as a matter of campaign policy we do not accept political contributions from state employees," Wertheimer said in a statement. "Immediately upon learning today of previous donations from this entity and their connection to a state employee, the governor directed that these funds be donated to worthy charities across Illinois."

Frerichs, D-Champaign, said Thursday that he had donated $250 to the Eastern Illinois Foodbank in Urbana.

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