Update: Ward 6: Cody Hendricks violates law but . . .

By: Diane Benjamin

In Illinois there are rarely any penalties for people who break campaign laws. Evidently CODE based on State Law is just a suggestion. (Heard any electioneering charges yet?)

Keep in mind Hendricks teaches CIVICS at Olympia, somebody please check what version he teaches!

Bloomington Code: https://ecode360.com/34402871

It violates City Code to run as a member of any political party. Hendricks does it anyway:

The Hendricks campaign sent this mailer. He should immediately withdraw from the Ward 6 race because laws are immaterial to himself and his campaign. He also doesn’t understand the Council doesn’t fund social issues or equity.

Henricks will never admit his crime and the media will never hold him accountable, so it’s up to voters to reject Cody Hendricks.

Imagine what other laws he is going to ignore if elected?

Map of Ward 6 – If you live here and fail to vote Hendricks could be your worst nightmare. Remember Carrillo?

Below is the NEW Ward 6 map after redistricting. BEC is using this one for the election, good luck figuring it out:

20 thoughts on “Update: Ward 6: Cody Hendricks violates law but . . .

  1. Normally I see your point, but saying one is “endorsed by elected Democrats” is different than being endorsed by the Democrat party. Mboka was endorsed by both elected Republicans and Democrats. Straza was endorsed by RINO’s and Democrats.

    Don’t get me wrong, I want to see Hendricks loose, but this story is a stretch..

  2. This mailer is paid for by “Friends of Cody Hendricks for Ward 6.” He is holding himself out to “be a candidate of or endorsed by a political party.” It is the candidate’s responsibility in a consolidated election to ensure their campaign is nonpartisan.

    Mboka didn’t send mailers “paid for by Mboka for Mayor” stating any political party endorsement. The other candidates have been endorsed but have not sent mailers with blatant statements of political endorsement.

    Cody claims experience as a former council member in Pekin. He should know better.

    I for one would not vote for a candidate who is ignorant of or purposefully violating the law.

      1. I think DQ makes some good points. So let’s discuss.

        How is Cody Hendricks “holding himself out” to be “a candidate of or endorsed by a political party?

    1. @ Randy,
      On the front of the mailer there is a photo showing Cody physically ALIGNED with the Democratic Governor and Sharon Chung (D)-State Representative on the porch of his home.
      On the back of the mailer, he is endorsed by: not only Sharon Chung (D) but also Lea Cline (D) and Jeannie Biles (D)-both McLean County Board Members.
      The fact that on the back of the mailer it shows that it is PAID FOR BY FRIENDS OF CODY HENDRICKS, which is the name of his campaign organization, he is “aligning and holding himself out to be endorsed by a political party.”
      Had he sent out a mailer with his other endorsements from nonpartisan organizations there would be no “alignment or endorsement by a political party.”
      The CANDIDATE is responsible for ensuring that the laws, including financial reporting to the State Board of Elections, are followed. Cody has failed in his responsibility in this case.

      1. DQ,
        Thank you for your kind and well-reasoning reply.
        Again, you make some good points. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the law is written in such a general way, it leaves a lot of wiggle room for a candidate to argue/make a case that he/she wasn’t violating the law. Thus, no law enforcement folks, state’s attorneys, election officials are going to try to enforce it and hold candidates accountable.
        For example, Cody could argue that just because he’s being photographed with members of people who identify themselves as members of the Democratic Party doesn’t mean he’s accepting their help/endorsements as Democrats. He could just say these are prominent politicians who share his liberal values, and thus he’s being endorsed by fellow liberals – not Democrats. Just as you and I might hang out with folks who tend to be liberal or conservative. We don’t have to – and usually don’t- have to express that in terms of a political party.
        Same thing with attending a fundraiser sponsored by the Democrats. He could say he’s accepting their support as fellow liberals and the political party part of it is irrelevant.
        Similar situation with PAID FOR BY FRIENDS OF CODY HENDRICKS. There’s a reason lots of campaigns use this language – “Friends Of.” It’s just a group of folks who support his candidacy – not necessarily people affiliated with a political party. They could be – but they could argue that’s not why they’re supporting them. He’s a liberal and the Friends are liberals and that’s why they’re behind him.
        The whole “political party” phrase in the law gives candidates a lot of wiggle room because one’s support for a candidate doesn’t have to be expressed or acted upon in terms of being affiliated with a political party.
        Now, is much of this BS and we all know what’s going on? Of course. But because the law is written this way, it makes enforcement very impractical and local officials just aren’t going to waste time doing it. I’m not arguing that should or shouldn’t be the case, but clearly that’s the way it is. And I’m not sure this is unique to Bloomington Normal, McLean County, the State of Illinois or even the entire Country. It seems when people run for political office anywhere in this country, just about anything goes. Maybe there’s instances in the United States where someone’s been charged or fined for violating election laws by sending out improper mailers or posing with politicians or attending fundraisers, but I haven’t seen any. Maybe there’s some.
        Nice to chat. I always try to keep in mind that the purpose of a debate or having a discussion with different opinions or view shouldn’t be to “win” the argument or debate. Rather, it should be to learn something new and to gain more understanding – both of the other person’s point of view as well as my own.

  3. @ Randy. Municipal elections are explicitly nonpartisan by law because partisanship interferes with the functioning of municipal government. The local ordinance was voted into law in the 1980s by referendum, majority of the citizenry, not just the Council.

    What residents want is trust in government. Building trust requires strength of character and honesty.

    What Cody is doing speaks to his character. I for one will not vote for a candidate who is ignorant of or purposefully ignoring the law.

    1. DQ
      I understand. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the law, as written, is subject to different interpretations, and one could certainly make a case that what Cody’s doing is in compliance with that law.
      I don’t know who came up with the language for the law, but if they wanted it to ensure a non-partisan election, they did a lousy job. It’s way too general; it needed to be a few sentences longer and more specific. I’m neither a linguist nor a lawyer, but there’s too much fuzziness and wiggle room in the law’s language to ensure non-partisanship.
      For example, look at the phrase “may not run or hold themselves out to be “. That goes to the issue of “intent.”
      The intent of the candidate. So let’s say a candidate declares his candidacy and is out campaigning and minding his own business. Then, a political party or a group of supporters reaches out and wants to endorse him, raise money for him, arrange for his photo to be taken with people calling themselves Democrats or Republicans.
      I’m struggling to see how this is non-compliance with the law.
      The candidate could say: “Look, this wasn’t my idea. I neither ‘ran nor held myself out’ to receive the endorsement or assistance from any political party. But then my phone started ringing and these people contacted me and offered to help get me elected. So I’m supposed to turn them away? I don’t think so.”
      If the law really wanted to ensure non-partisanship – or at least make a serious attempt – why wasn’t it written so that it specifically prohibited “the acceptance” of any kind of financial aid, fundraisers held in behalf of, endorsements, photo ops, flyers, mailings, or any other election assistance from any group or person who identifies with a political party – regardless of who’s idea it was?
      Instead, the way the law is written now, it allows practically anything.

      1. @ Randy, of course laws are poorly written and open to interpretation, maybe on purpose.

        This mailer shows “intent” because it is paid for by the candidate’s campaign organization, aka, “Friends of Cody Hendricks.” The disclaimers are for transparency purposes. The candidate is responsible for how their campaign money is spent. In this case, the candidate’s mailer shows the candidate to be aligned with a political party.

        Had the mailer had a disclaimer that it had been paid for and sent by some other entity of which Cody has no control, there would be no “intent” on his part. This is not the case here.

        The candidate can accept financial support from any source they chose but the donations are required to be reported to the State Board of Election if the total amount exceeds $5,000.

  4. DQ,
    Yes, I see your points. You do make a good case.
    My only other thought goes back to your first sentence. Quite right…so perhaps folks who wrote law were being deliberately vague and used language to provide an arguable loophole?Why? Because violations would be sufficiently contestable in court or in front of some board, officials wouldn’t try to enforce?
    Maybe citizens wanted non partisan elections but politicians – shocker – really didn’t?
    Thanks again for your thoughtful comments.

    1. Bingo!! It is the politicians (elected officials at the State level) who write the laws. Heaven forbid they might be held accountable.

  5. Jordan identifies himself as a Republican candidate, should he drop out also leaving Ward 6 without a alderperson? He was endorsed by people who are Democrats not the Democratic Party. Get off of Drumpf’s sack and get over your braindead ideas.

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