Contribution to Raoul's attorney general bid may pose a conflict
News that Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), part of a crowded field of Democrats vying for the attorney general seat Lisa Madigan is vacating, received a six-figure donation to his war chest might have raised fewer eyebrows if a couple of facts had been left out of the story.
The news that Raoul received $100,000 from Top Tobacco owner Don Levin is complicated when you add in details about disputes that pit Big Tobacco against the state’s attorney general's office
According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Levin’s firm has been on the losing end of several arbitration cases supervised by Madigan. The cases (one of which is ongoing) involved attempts by some tobacco firms to reduce the payouts they owe states under the 1998 master tobacco settlement, as the Associated Press reports.
The donations have been enough to fuel media speculation about potential impropriety, while leaving state GOP officials mulling whether a conflict of interest has occurred.