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Illinois: can Blago use campaign bucks for legal defense?

The National Law Journal reports: Federal criminal corruption charges lodged against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich have highlighted a gray area in the state's laws: whether the state's top executive can use campaign contributions for his legal defense fees.

Illinois State Board of Elections officials say there's no state law that bars spending the funds on legal fees because it's not in a list of prohibited personal uses. Still, the board has never taken a stance on the issue and could come down on either side if a complaint were filed, said Steven Sandvoss, general counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections.

"You would have to determine whether or not this is personal or related to his serving as a public official," Sandvoss said.

The issue has cropped up in Illinois in the past and emerged as an issue in other states that have grappled with criminal wrongdoing by elected officials. New York and New Jersey have bills pending in their legislatures that would stop public officials charged with crimes from using campaign contributions for legal defense. -- Law.com - Can Blagojevich Use Campaign Contributions for His Legal Defense?

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