Activists want Illinois Senate candidates to reject outside spending

A group is calling for Illinois Senate candidates to refuse outside money in the competitive race that could determine control of the upper chamber.

CounterPAC, a group that advocates for fair elections free from outside spending, purchased full-page ads in the Chicago Sun-Times and State Journal-Register urging the candidates to refuse funding from outside groups.

The race between Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, Democrat Rep. Tammy Duckworth and Democrat Andrea Zopp has already attracted $1.7 million in outside spending, with more than $1 million coming from Democratic supporters, according to a CounterPAC release.

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"All it would take to make this race more accountable and stem the flow of unlimited super PAC spending is a simple handshake between the candidates," said Jay Costa, the executive director of CounterPAC, in a statement. "Mark Kirk, Tammy Duckworth and Andrea Zopp should agree together that Illinois voters would benefit from a race free from unlimited outside spending."

CounterPAC offered to act as the enforcer of a pledge to not accept outside spending among the candidates. The group is asking for the candidates to reject all money spent by super PACs or other outside interest groups on their behalf and, if any money is still spent, to offset it with a donation to a cause of their opponent's choice, the ad said.

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