Toi Hutchinson`s paid campaign staff includes mom - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

2nd district candidate Toi Hutchinson`s paid campaign staff includes mom

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

FOX 32 has learned that one of the candidates running to replace Jackson has been paying thousands of dollars in campaign cash to her mother.

Democratic State Senator Toi Hutchinson didn't hire some kid as her campaign scheduler; she hired her mother, Janice Heno. State Board of Election records show between January of 2010 and December of 2012, Hutchinson paid her mother more than $57,000 out of her campaign fund for "contractual services."

"She really wanted to help me. It was entry level and it was exactly what I could have paid some kid to do," Hutchinson says of hiring her mother. "I needed help and I needed somebody who knew all of what that was, so she helped me manage my campaign responsibilities. She helped me get everywhere I was supposed to go and make sure I did not miss a play date, a track meet, a dance recital."

Hutchinson is one of 16 democrats running in a special election to replace former 2nd District Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who is said to be cutting a plea deal with the feds.

One of the areas of inquiry in that federal investigation is for hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds Jackson paid his wife, former Alderman Sandi Jackson, for "contractual services."

"There's a history, especially in the Chicago area, of politicians hiring their relatives for no-show jobs," campaign money expert David Morrison says.

Morrison says while it's entirely legal to pay family members for political work, it raises all sorts of questions: "is the service really needed? Are you paying fair market rates? Is this really the best person to do it or is it a cover for something else?"

Hutchinson, who has a solid reform record in Springfield, says her mother did do the work and doesn't understand why anyone would make it an issue.

"Paying attention to protecting taxpayers dollars is something I've been doing since the day I got in," Hutchinson says. "So it was important to me to make sure we followed every rule, and we did."

Hutchinson's mother went off the campaign payroll in December. We asked Hutchinson why she was paying her mom to schedule her campaign year-round, even during months where there was no imminent election. She said, in politics, it's always campaign time.

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