CHICAGO – The Chicago Tribune reports that Gov. Rod Blagojevich spent more than $163,000 from his campaign fund to pay a prominent Chicago law firm this year, according to campaign finance records filed Friday, bringing the total in legal fees to more than $1.1 million since a federal investigation into his administration ramped up in 2006.
Doug Scofield, a spokesman for Blagojevich’s campaign, declined to release details on the scope of the legal work by Winston & Strawn except to say, “We use them for all our campaign legal work.”
The campaign fund reported raising $374,352 in the first six months of 2007, while spending $767, 551. That left $283,782 in cash.
In the midst of his re-election campaign a year before, Blagojevich raised $6.6 million and spent $9.8 million. He still had a $12 million war chest in his campaign bank account.
The campaign has paid legal fees to the firm since 2003.
The amounts increased significantly, however, after a federal investigation was launched into administration hiring practices.
The Tribune reports that Mayor Richard Daley’s successful re-election effort spent more than $4.6 million this year, but his campaign still has millions of dollars in its account, according to the latest campaign finance report.
The Daley campaign committee reported a balance of almost $3.4 million as of the end of June.
The newly released campaign-finance reports also gave final totals for the massive effort by organized labor in the City Council elections. In several cases, labor unions spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to help unseat aldermen backed by Daley.
The most politically ambitious labor group, the Service Employees International Union, gave more than $2.7 million in campaign cash and services to council candidates, records show.
A campaign fund set up to help the mayor’s council allies reported spending more than $600,000, much of it on behalf of incumbents who lost.