Businessman hit with FEC complaint before becoming candidate

Illinois businessman Chris Kennedy has not made his formal entrance into politics, but he has already received his first warning shot.

A Chicago police officer filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) last month accusing Kennedy of having spent more than $5,000 on his campaign for Illinois's open Senate seat despite failing to file a formal declaration of candidacy.

The complaint alleges that agreements between Kennedy and two prominent Democratic consulting firms — AKP&D Media and Anzalone Liszt Research — almost surely cost Kennedy more than $5,000.

Kennedy has been toying with a Senate bid for the seat being vacated by Sen. Roland Burris (D). A report in the Chicago Sun-Times in mid-May reported he had commissioned a poll through Anzalone Liszt and shot a television commercial.

FEC rules require anyone spending more than the $5,000 threshold to file a statement of candidacy within 15 days.

Meanwhile, Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) filed his candidacy in March, and later this week will report having raised $1.8 million through the second quarter. He raised $670,000 in the second quarter, a drop-off from his initially fast pace.

Some Democrats in Washington are less than thrilled at the prospect of Giannoulias on top of their ticket. Republicans in Illinois have a long list of complaints against the first-term treasurer, including links between a bank his family runs and convicted fraudster Tony Rezko.

But Democrats have been unable to coax another strong candidate into the race. Last week, Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) rejected entreaties from the White House, and President Obama himself, to make a race. And Kennedy has waited almost two months from the time the first rumors of his bid emerged to actually jump into the race.

Spokesmen for Kennedy did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

Meanwhile, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Andy McKenna said Monday he would not run for Senate if Rep. Mark KirkMark Steven KirkHigh stakes as Trump heads to Hill Five things to watch for at Trump-Senate GOP meeting Giffords, Scalise highlight party differences on guns MORE (R) jumps in the race. Kirk is the national GOP's top recruit, and he seems poised to jump in if Republicans can guarantee him a clear primary field.