After a campaign season that was embarrassing at times, former U.S. Senator and mayoral candidate Carol Moseley Braun is once again in the spotlight -- for allegedly failing to disclose where $315,000 in campaign money went.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times and NBC Chicago, the Illinois Board of Elections has reached out to Braun several times, trying to find out how she spent the $315,000. Candidates are required by law to file campaign disclosure statements, but she is the only Chicago mayoral candidate who failed to do so.
When asked by reporters why she did not file, she blamed longtime friend and former treasurer, Billie Paige.
“If Billie Paige neglected to do so, it doesn’t surprise; she is elderly and overwhelmed,” Braun told the reporting team.
Paige said she did her part and that she wished Braun well.
Throughout the campaign, Braun did not respond to criticism well. She accused one of her opponents of being "on crack," called a newspaper columnist a "drunk wife-beater," and accused the former police chief of knowing nothing about Chicago. Her financial woes were also an issue during the campaign.
As the Associated Press reported in February, when other candidates released their tax returns, she refused. When she relented, the documents showed her tea and coffee company was struggling, raising questions about her ability to run a city already in deep financial trouble.
The Sun-Times and NBC Chicago report mentions her woes after being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992:
Even as she won that year, Braun was plagued with questions about finances. There was a Medicaid issue involving the sale of her mother’s property. That was followed by her 1998 re-election campaign in which questions were raised regarding how $280,000 in campaign funds was spent. The IRS questioned the spending of, among other things: $70,000 on clothes, $18,000 on jewelry and $64,000 on trips, including to Hawaii, Africa and Europe.
“I have not seen an example worse than this of a committee with this kind of money,” David Morrison, deputy director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, told the Sun-Times. “The basic idea here is that the public has a right to know where the money is coming from and where it is going.”
Read more about Braun's disclosure issue here.
Start your workday the right way with the news that matters most. Learn more