Will Lance Tyson's history of generous campaign contributions help fill his coffers?

Will Lance Tyson's history of generous campaign contributions help fill his coffers?
Lance Tyson thanks committeemen on Wednesday, after they slated him to run as a third-party candidate in the 10th Representative District race. Photo by Nick Moroni

Before being picked last week to be the candidate for the new 10th District Unity Party, Lance Tyson assured a panel of nine Chicago Democratic committeemen that he’ll be able to come up with enough money to run a race for state representative.

Fielding a question from Secretary of State Jesse White, the panel chair, Tyson said his campaign budget would be “at least” $275,000–more than the two other challengers who were also vying to be the third-party candidate.

“I’m ready to go out and start raising money tomorrow … and to begin leveraging the commitments I already have from the different groups I already have relationships with,” Tyson told the group.

In an interview with The Chicago Reporter, Tyson refused to elaborate on any “relationships” or “commitments” he has.

But he should have no problem raising money if he can turn his political connections and history of giving rather generous campaign contributions to others into a steady stream of funds for his own campaign.

On Wednesday, he filed a statement of organization with the Illinois State Board of Elections to create a campaign committee: Friends of Lance Tyson.

There are no records of his receipts just yet, but look at his political past and whom he’s given to.

Tyson was a top aide to controversial ex-Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, and legislative counsel to former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Stroger’s not doing so hot these days, but Daley’s no slouch.

The former mayor has $745,389.45 left in his campaign fund–money he can use freely on, say, politicians he likes, if he wants to, thanks to a loosey-goosey state law.

For the last 10 years, come election time, Tyson has consistently given money to some pretty important pols at the state, county and local levels.

From 2002-2010, Tyson contributed a total of $70,400 to a variety of mostly Democratic candidates, according to the state board of elections.

Tyson forked over $9,200 in campaign donations to his old boss Stroger, over the years. Eventually their interests “diverged” and Tyson left the position. He later gave Toni Preckwinkle a $500 donation when she ran against Stroger and beat him in the 2010 primary.

Tyson also gave Daley a $500 contribution.

What’s more, he has been pretty generous to House Speaker Michael Madigan. He has given the speaker and his 13th Ward Democratic Organization a combined $6,500.

Tyson gave Madigan’s daughter, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, a more modest $300.

It’ll be interesting to see what, if any, support the House Speaker gives to Tyson, considering one of Madigan’s committees pumped over $60,000 into Derrick Smith’s primary run.

Madigan likes to be on the side that’s winning, though.

Tyson’s also forked over thousands of dollars to other members of the General Assembly, some of whom might also be inclined to return the favor.

Arthur Turner, the state representative in the neighboring 9th District, has received $950 from Tyson.

Former 33rd District state Rep. Marlow Colvin grabbed $7,400 in contributions from Tyson over the years. Colvin now has a cushy job as a lobbyist for ComEd, and possibly some petty cash to spend on friends in Springfield, where he’ll be working on behalf of the energy giant.

Tyson also gave a combined $1,250 to former 32nd District state Rep. Milton Patterson. Remember him? He was the only House member to vote “nay” on impeaching now imprisoned ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The list of campaign contributions is pretty voluminous; and some of that money has gone to, well, some less-than-progressive pols.

He also gave $1,500 to 7th District state Rep. Karen Yarbrough. She’ll be leaving office, though, after winning the Democratic nomination for Cook County Recorder of Deeds. She is unopposed.

A decent amount of Tyson’s cash has gone to county and city pols too.

He donated a combined $1,500 to 4th District Cook County Commissioner William Beavers, who was indicted in February for tax fraud.

Tyson also gave $4,000 to Beaver’s daughter, Darcel Beavers, who replaced her father on City Council in 2006. The following year, Darcel lost the 7th Ward seat to Sandi Jackson, who still holds it.

He contributed $1,000 to 2nd District Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele, and $1,700 to Joan Murphy, 6th District Cook County commissioner.

He has given $250 to Earlean Collins, county commissioner of the 1st District, and a combined $2,700 to former county commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno.

Tyson has also given Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart a total of $2,000, and he contributed $1,500 to 4th Ward Ald. Will Burns.

Most of Tyson’s political donations have gone to pols on the South and West sides, but he’s also spent money on the North Side and in the suburbs, too.

The combined $2,500 Tyson gave to 33rd Ward Ald. Dick Mell’s 33rd Ward Regular Democratic Organization is an example. He also gave the powerhouse alderman a separate $1,500 contribution.

Elsewhere, Tyson’s given $500 to Maywood United, the political party of Henderson Yarbrough, the mayor of the west suburb and husband of Karen Yarbrough.

$650 has also gone to Deyon Dean, mayor of south suburban Riverdale. Back in 2010, Dean drew criticism about whether his job as mayor conflicted with a state job he held. A state investigation later ruled he could keep both jobs.

Tyson’s an attorney and definitely can afford to fund a campaign, but it’s election time and he’s looking for money. And now that he’s the one with his hand out, it’ll be interesting to see how good these pols’ memories are.

© Community Renewal Society 2012

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