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Alvarez, Foxx campaigns spar over lobbyist donations

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s campaign on Friday accused challenger Kim Foxx of fund-raising violations for taking contributions from high-stakes lobbyist Victor Reyes — and then sought to downplay donations that Alvarez received from that very same donor.

Alvarez’s campaign blasted Foxx for accepting two donations of $3,500 each from the Roosevelt Group and Reyes Kurson, both listing Reyes as president in their official filings with the Illinois secretary of state, according to a statement from the Alvarez campaign.

Foxx also accepted $1,000 from the Roosevelt Group in December, records show.

Reyes, a former political adviser to Mayor Richard M. Daley and former chief of the Hispanic Democratic Organization at the center of the city hiring scandal, is a registered lobbyist through his firm Reyes Kurson.

The Cook County ethics ordinance bars more than $750 in contributions to candidates from any person required to register as a lobbyist with Cook County.

Alvarez’s campaign initially argued that both firms —Reyes Kurson and the Roosevelt Group — are registered as lobbyists and, therefore, are subject to the $750 limit.

But campaign records from August 2011 show Alvarez also received a $1,000 contribution from Reyes’ Roosevelt Group and another $750 in 2014.

Asked about the contributions, the Alvarez campaign said the group doesn’t lobby the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, “and never has.”

A database maintained by the Cook County Clerk’s office does not list the Roosevelt Group as lobbying the county.

Reyes Kurson is listed as a lobbyist.

Alvarez also took in a $750 donation from Reyes Kurson in 2014, presumably legal under the accepted limits.

Foxx reported receiving $3,500 from Reyes Kurson, apparently over the limit.

But Foxx campaign spokesman Robert Foley said Friday the contribution was a “clerical error” that has already been fixed by returning the amount of the contribution that exceeded the limit.

He said the campaign did so within the legally allowed timeframe.

“This was a simple clerical error that we quickly fixed and the Alvarez campaign has made in the past. It’s unfortunate that Anita Alvarez and her campaign continue to engage in petty name-calling and dishonest smears when we are facing such serious challenges in Cook County’s broken criminal justice system,” Foxx spokesman Robert Foley said.

But Alvarez spokesman Mike Carson said: “Taking contributions from Cook County lobbyists is garden variety pay-to-play from Kim Foxx. Foxx was the chief-of-staff to the County Board president, and violated the county ethics ordinance by taking thousands over the threshold from a lobbyist who lobbies the county.

The accusation comes two days after the Illinois State Board of Elections ruled Foxx’s campaign fund violated state election law for failing to disclose a 2015 poll that was paid for by her main political backer and former boss, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Foxx worked as chief of staff to Preckwinkle when the Board president paid for the poll in February 2015. Foxx hadn’t filed to be a candidate at that point, but the state Board of Elections ruled that the campaign should have reported the help from Preckwinkle because Foxx “was aware of the poll” and she “participated by providing information and reviewing the questions.”