SPRINGFIELD — Democrat David Gill insisted Thursday that he has not broken his pledge against taking campaign money from Wall Street bankers and big corporations.
The emergency room physician from Bloomington, who is seeking a seat in Congress representing Illinois’ 13th District, said the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee used only money from small donors — not the DCCC’s corporate contributors — to help him finance a new TV ad.
“All the money raised by the DCCC for the ad came from online or grass-roots donors, not PACs, lobbyists or corporations,” Gill said during a conference call Thursday.
In the ad, Gill says, “My campaign doesn’t take a penny from Wall Street bankers or big corporations.”
At the end of the piece, however, there is a tagline noting that the ad was approved by Gill and partially financed by the DCCC — which does take money from corporate donors.
The Illinois Republican Party says Gill “broke one of his most longstanding campaign pledges: his often repeated line to not take a penny of corporate money.”
Gill, who faces Republican Rodney Davis of Taylorville and independent John Hartman of Edwardsville on the Nov. 6 ballot, told reporters that he was “outraged” over the GOP response and was unaware the ad and its funding source would become controversial.
“I didn’t think this was going to be an issue,” said Gill, who has made the campaign finance pledge a key piece of his fourth campaign for Congress.
In March, for example, he bashed his primary election opponent for accepting DCCC money.
On Thursday, Gill abruptly hung up the phone before the reporters were done asking questions.
Neither his campaign nor the DCCC provided examples of other campaigns where only so-called “grass-roots” dollars were being spent on behalf of candidates.
The abbreviated conference call came on the second straight day of confusion over the funding question.
On Wednesday, following a debate in Normal, Gill appeared not to understand the ramifications of the new funding arrangement with the DCCC when he was questioned by reporters.
At one point he stopped a post-debate interview to confer with a staffer in hopes of clarifying the situation, but then did little to clear the air.
With Hartman polling below 10 percent, Gill and Davis have been duking it out in the final weeks of a hard-fought campaign that has drawn more than $3.6 million in funding from outside groups.
The Davis campaign did not have an immediate response to the dust-up.