Democrats are accusing Republican congressional candidate Bobby Schilling and a veterans group critical of U.S. Rep. Phil Hare, D-Ill., of breaking federal election law.
Jim Moody, chairman of the Sangamon County Democratic Party, said Tuesday he had filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, alleging five violations of election law.
Included is the claim that Schilling and the veterans group cooperated on a May fundraiser for a billboard but didn’t report it as a contribution to the Republican.
The complaint also says the veterans group didn’t register properly, failed to report contributions and expenditures and didn’t have the proper disclaimers.
“The collusion between Bobby Schilling and ‘Veterans for the Constitution’ is not only unethical, it’s illegal,” Moody said in a statement.
The group was originally called Veterans for Schilling, the complaint said.
In the news release announcing the complaint, Hare said Schilling should “emerge from the shadows and demonstrate the courage to challenge me directly.”
Schilling and the veterans group denied wrongdoing.
Bill Albracht, treasurer of Veterans for the Constitution, said the complaint is a sign it’s having an effect.
“We have taken the fight to Hare, and I see this as retaliation and intimidation,” he said.
Hare and members of the veterans group already have tangled over whether the congressman has the right to call himself a veteran.
Terry Schilling, who manages his father’s campaign, said Tuesday that Hare was behind the complaint.
“Rep. Hare can’t focus on the issues that are affecting us, because if he does, then he loses,” he said.
The race between Hare and Schilling has taken a more negative turn in recent weeks.
Lately, the campaigns have been sparring over debates.
Schilling had asked last month for four debates, with Hare responding that he would agree to two, on public television stations in Springfield and the Quad-Cities.
Schilling responded earlier this week that would shortchange people in Quincy and Macomb, but Hare said the television coverage would reach them, too.
The campaigns both said this week they have not spoken directly to each other about coming to terms on debates.