Mayoral candidate Willie Wilson to give out more money this week
CHICAGO — Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson will once again hand out money this week.
On July 22, the businessman gave South Side churchgoers more than $200,000 in cash and checks in what he called an attempt to help people pay Cook County property tax bills. Critics said Wilson appeared to be buying votes.
The Illinois State Board of Elections said Wilson didn’t break any campaign finance laws because the money came from his non-profit foundation and that “there was no quid pro quo.”
On Wednesday, Wilson will again give away money — this time to the first 300 people who sign up for property tax assistance on his website. Wilson said each person can receive a property tax assistance payment of up to $500.
In a previous interview with WGN News, Wilson said, “The money that I give away is my own personal money. I give away roughly about $300,000 a year to the people on the streets. They are asking for food, helping senior citizens pay light bills, gas bills, and in this case, it’s property taxes.”
He continued: “Why should I stop helping people on the street that don’t have money to buy food? I don’t think I have to make a choice for helping people.”
Chicago politicos on both sides of the aisle raised concerns with the practice.
“What the hell? Is Bruce Rauner using Willie Wilson and Corey Brooks to buy votes???” tweeted state Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, a Democrat.
“Check this out if you wonder why Illinois politicians are often a national joke,” Republican state Rep. David McSweeney said on Twitter. “How can Willie Wilson, a candidate for Mayor of Chicago, literally hand out CASH at a public event? This is so wrong!”
According to a news release, the money will be distributed at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Cook County Treasurer’s Office, 118 N. Clark St.