Ex-Illinois Gaming Board Chairman Caught Up in Political Donations Scandal

  • Don Tracy was appointed to the position of chairman by former Illinois governor Rauner
  • He is accused of donating $20,000+ to Rauner's campaign during office, including via his wife
  • The couple have hit back at claims of the wife's involvement, deeming them "sexist"
man's hand putting money into donation box slot
Don Tracy, the ex-chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board, has been accused of prohibited political activity involving donations made in his and his wife’s name. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Former chairman made political donations

Don Tracy, a former chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board, has been accused by the Office of Executive Inspector General (OEIG) of engaging in prohibited political activity.

more than $20,000 worth of contributions made by the ex-chairman to political committees

The accusations, contained in a 12-page report, call into question more than $20,000 worth of loans and contributions made by the ex-chairman to political committees between March 20, 2015 and October 29, 2018. Members of the Gaming Board are prohibited by law from making such political donations.

Accused of writing checks to campaign fund

Tracy, who resigned as chairman of the Gaming Board in June, was first offered the position by former Illinois governor Bruce Rauner in 2015. The report states that he is accused of making some 30 contributions, including eight in his wife’s name totaling $7,600, which were donated to Rauner’s campaign fund.

The checks were written from the couple’s joint account, but according to the report, the name ‘Don Tracy’ and ‘Don Tracy Attorney at Law’ was crossed off most of them.

The report highlights that political donations were unusual for Wanda Tracy, who had made only one contribution to a political committee between 1998 and 2005. In comparison, Don Tracy had made 210 contributions to 67 such committees.

Wife hits back at “sexist” comment

The report finds it “not credible” that his wife began to engage in writing checks “without any direction from her husband, or even discussion with him about it.”

Wanda Tracy has hit back at this comment, calling it “sexist”. She has also alleged that the inspector general’s office never consulted her during the investigation. In a letter to the Executive Ethics Commission, she said:

[T]he OEIG characterized me as a political puppet for my husband without even meeting or speaking to me. Frankly, the OEIG owes me an apology.”

Further action encouraged

Don Tracy has stated that the implication of Wanda making donations on his behalf was “not only sexist and insulting; it also implies that women/spouses are incapable of making campaign contributions without being directed by a man.”

The report outcome shows that the OEIG has recommended Gov. J.B. Pritzker to take further action.

Tracy, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in the 2010 Republican primary, has maintained that he was not forced to resign when he stepped down in June, despite his term not due to end until July.

Don Tracy’s previous professional background was as an attorney and business owner. He also remained chairman of Central Illinois for Responsible Government, which supported then-governor Rauner, while he was chairman of the Gaming Board.

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