February 19th, 2020
Taxpayers File Complaint Concerning Improper Actions of Riverside-Brookfield School Dist. 208
The President of Taxpayers United of America (TUA) today filed a complaint with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez alleging that Riverside-Brookfield School Dist. 208 violated the election code provision against election interference (10 ILCS 5/9-25.1) by improperly spending public funds to advocate raising property taxes in the April 5 property tax increase referendum, possibly in violation of state law.
In the letter to Madigan and Alvarez, TUA President Jim Tobin stated, “Taxpayers United of America counts more than 200 supporters in the Riverside-Brookfield area. One month ago, several of them contacted us about a property tax increase referendum to be decided April 5 by the voters of Riverside Brookfield District 208.” Tobin added, “In more than thirty years of anti-tax activism in Illinois, I can say without equivocation that this has been, by far, the most shameless, open and notorious use of public resources in support of a political outcome that I have ever seen. The school should file with the State Board of Elections as a campaign committee to detail every cent it has expended in this effort.”
Some of the violations brought up by Tobin include:
• The district used public resources; told students to circulate “volunteer” forms to other students during school hours, to sign-up students for pro-referendum literature blitzes and campaign activity.
• It allowed a pro-referendum group to use public resources, such as tables, chairs, official publications, etc. at school events on school grounds and inside the school building, to seek political support from district residents.
• It hosted, on the school football field, a student gathering and rally in behalf of voting “yes” on the referendum.
• It produced, using public resources, a pro-referendum TV campaign ad and mailing, which urged people to vote, “yes” on the referendum.
• It deployed its senior personnel to local groups to speak on behalf of a “yes” vote on the referendum.
• Using public resources, it significantly understated the actual impact of the referendum on the ballot question it submitted to the Cook County Clerk.