Kent Redfield

Kent Redfield

Primary Affiliation: Fiscal and Economic Policy Working Group; COVID-19 Task Force

Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science | University of lllinois Springfield

Skill Highlights

Communication Skills

Policy Research

Agenda Building

Campaign Finance Reform

Executive Policy Advice


Anti-discrimination legislation
Spent a month in residence with the Utah legislature, helping Utah state lawmakers to pass anti-discrimination legislation that balances
religious liberty and LGBT rights. In 2019, Professor Wilson assisted the governor of Utah to craft regulations banning gay conversion therapy.
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Kent Redfield is a professor emeritus with the University of Illinois and the Institute for Government and Public Affairs. He retired as a professor emeritus in 2009 and retired from teaching in 2014.

Prior to joining the faculty of what is now University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) he worked for 4 years as a legislative analyst for the Illinois General Assembly, staffing the local government committees for the majority caucus in the House.

During his time at UIS, he served 20 years as Director of the Illinois Legislative Staff Intern Program which provides interns for the partisan and non-partisan staffs of the Illinois General Assembly. For over 30 years he taught courses on Illinois politics, political campaigns, and lobbying primarily to graduate students. During that time he wrote two books on the role of money in Illinois politics and co-authored a book on the Illinois legislature. He also wrote numerous articles on Illinois politics for Illinois Issues and the Almanac of Illinois Politics.

The primary focus of his research and engagement activities are on the role of money in politics and political ethics in Illinois. In 1995-96 he was Research director for the Illinois Campaign Finance Task Force, created by Illinois Issues at UIS and funded by the Joyce Foundation. His research provided an empirical base for a bi-partisan commission and a community outreach project promoting disclosure and regulation of political contributions in Illinois. That work led to a partnership with a non-profit political reform advocacy group, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR). The major policy research achievement of that partnership was the development of a value-added campaign finance database of campaign contributions to legislators, statewide elected officials, and party organizations, the Sunshine Project. The project was supported by grants from the Joyce Foundation to both UIS and ICPR. Between 1997 and 2010 he provided support for and was directly engaged in successful efforts by ICPR and other public interest groups to change Illinois laws to provide greater disclosure and regulation of political contributions and campaign expenditures, and to strengthen Illinois political ethics law.

He also conducted contract research on the history and outcome of Illinois redistricting under the 1970 Illinois State Constitution and was actively engaged in promoting a citizens’ initiative to change the redistricting process in the Illinois State Constitution. The results of that research were presented in a monograph published by the Simon Institute. He also wrote a book chapter on Illinois congressional redistricting.

Drawing on his legislative staff experience, his teaching and writing on Illinois politics, his research on the role of money in Illinois politics, and his advocacy experience, he regularly provides background, analysis, and commentary on Illinois politics to journalist and news organizations throughout the state. Since 1980 he has also made over 500 invited presentations on Illinois politics, Illinois governmental process, money in Illinois politics, and political ethics to various civic, private, and non-profit groups and professional associations, and public affairs, academic, and student audiences.

University of Washington, Seattle, Washington; Ph.D. Political Science, 1975. 

University of Washington, Seattle, Washington; M.A. Political Science, 1970. 

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah; B.S. with Magna Cum Laude in Political Science, 1969.



Illinois Campaign Finance

Helped change Illinois campaign finance laws

Illinois Campaign Finance Task Force

Professor Redfield served as research director for the joint project between Illinois Issues and the Joyce Foundation, in 1995-96. He provided the research used by the Simon-Stratton Commission for their report and recommendations and created materials for community outreach efforts to build awareness of the issue for campaign finance reform

Sunshine Database

Sunshine Database was a searchable database of coded campaign contributions featured on the website of the ICPR. Updated every 6 months, it provided information for journalists, public interest groups, and citizens, giving them a clear picture of who was funding political campaigns and the use of campaign contributions to advance the lobbying efforts of interest groups

Major Campaign Reform

ICPR and other public interest groups negotiated the final content of the major campaign reform bill, signed into law in 1998. Major elements included electronic filing of campaign reports, a ban on the personal use of campaign funds, a gift ban prohibiting gifts to public employees and elected officials, and a strengthening of state ethics laws

Illinois Campaign for Political Reform

Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (ICPR) was created in 1997 as a non-profit organization under the leadership of former Senator Paul Simon with funding from the Joyce Foundation. The Director, Cindi Canary, had been a member of the Simon Stratton Commission. A joint funding arrangement between Joyce and UIS beginning in 1997 provided support for continuing to build Professor Redfield’s database. This collaborative arrangement lasted for 12 years, with Joyce providing a total of $620,000 funding to the project

Campaign Finance

From 1995-97, Professor Redfield began building a coded relational database from paper records filed with the state Board of Elections. He also began a collaboration with the Executive Director of the State Board of Elections who was undertaking a similar project at his agency

Simon-Lawrence Working Group

Simon-Lawrence Working Group, initiated by former congressman Paul Simon and led by Mike Lawrence from the Simon Institute, was a group of eight legislators appointed by the four legislative leaders and a designee of Governor Edgar to craft a political ethics and campaign disclosure bill in response to a political scandal involving agency personal and political contributions to legislators. Ron Michaelson from the State Board of Election and Professor Redfield served as staff for the working group

Recent Publications

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2014 Illinoisan of the Year – Illinois News Broadcasters Association


Policy Work

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