Dismissal Of Election Law Complaint Remanded To Board For Lack Of Fact Findings

Mark Thompson filed a complaint in the Illinois State Board of Elections against Elizabeth Gorman. Thompson claimed Gorman filed false reports concerning loans and financing of a campaign for elected office.

After a closed preliminary hearing, the Board examiner “recommended that petitioner’s [Thompson] complaint be found not to have been filed upon justifiable grounds and that the matter not proceed to a public hearing.” The Board adopted the examiner’s recommendation and dismissed Thompson’s complaint.

The examiner issued a written report. But the Board did not make findings of fact in support of its ruling. The Board stated only that its ruling was based on a reading of the examiner’s report and the recommendation of the Board’s general counsel. (The general counsel’s report was not in the record on appeal.)

That was not sufficient to dismiss the complaint. The First District Illinois Appellate Court ruled that “[a] decision of an administrative agency must contain findings so as to make judicial review of that decision possible … [T]he Board did not enter any findings from the evidence to support its conclusion that petitioner’s [Thompson] complaint was not filed on justifiable grounds, and we therefore remand the matter to the Board for a statement of reasons as to why it reached that conclusion.”

Read the whole case, Thompson v. Gorman, 1-10-0885 (11/18/10), by clicking here.