Oswego Village President Troy Parlier acknowledges accepting campaign donations from individuals and businesses working with the village, but said the contributions do not influence decisions made by himself or the Village Board.
Parlier is seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for a second term as village president in the Feb 28 consolidated primary election. Village Board member Brian Thomas is challenging Parlier.
David Edelman, a village resident and business owner, raised concerns about Parlier’s campaign finances and partisan politics during a Jan 10 Village Board meeting.
Edelman cited contributions made to the Oswego First PAC by the law firm of Rosanova & Whitaker LTD of Naperville, which represents developers of Tuscany Station, a 480-unit apartment complex that was approved by the board at the same meeting.
Rosanova & Whitaker made contributions of $2,500 on Sept. 17, 2022, and $1,000 on Dec. 31, 2021, to the Oswego First PAC. Parlier chairs the Oswego First PAC and longtime resident and former Village Trustee Dave Krahn serves as treasurer.
Edelman said he believes it is a conflict of interest and highly unethical for Parlier to accept such contributions.
Edelman said he is not aware of a time in village’s history when local candidates had both a personal campaign fund and PAC funding. Edelman said he and many other residents believe partisan politics have no place in local government.
“How do individuals that wish to serve have the resources to compete with such a financial disadvantage?” Edelman said. “Is this good for Oswego, and do PAC donors now have more influence than voters?”
Parlier said businesses may donate to whomever they wish, but any decisions made on development in the village goes through several public processes before the Village Board votes on final approval.
One thing Parlier said he and Edelman agree on is that everyone should look at the Illinois State Board of Election’s website to see his and other candidates’ campaign contributions.
“I follow a very transparent process,” Parlier said. “Fundraising is standard in any campaign. You’re going to find that what I do is very typical, but you won’t find much PAC money or money from media sources.”
Parlier said that while all of his donations are documented, his potential Democratic opponent in the April 4 general election, Ryan Kauffman, has received money from PACs to launch his own campaign, KauffmanForOswego.
According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, Kauffman has accepted donations from PACs in previous campaigns, and KauffmanForOswego disclosed a $5,000 donation on Jan. 9, 2023, that was not itemized. Kauffman said Wednesday the $5,000 donation came from himself.
“I feel there is a lot of misdirection going on here,” Parlier said. “There is a small group of hyper partisans in town that try to divide our community on a daily basis.”
Parlier also noted the Kendall County Democratic Party, of which Kauffman serves as secretary, has received $33,000 from Governor JB Pritzker, as well as $1,000 donations from Congresswoman Lauren Underwood and Edelman himself.
“I have very small contributions from a large variety of people,” Parlier said. “It doesn’t even compare to what’s going on there.”
Parlier said his campaign has around 150 total donors and he expects to spend between $12,000 and $15,000 on his campaign, using funding for signs, mailers, marketing expertise and consulting fees.
In past elections, Edelman has been responsible for founding Friends of Oswego Fire, a PAC aimed to help pass Oswego Fire Protection District referendums, and has contributed $2,000 to Vote Yes to Invest, a PAC supporting Oswego School District 308 referendums.