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This just in…

Tuesday, Mar 31, 2009

* 11:59 am - The chairman of the governor’s independent reform commission talked to the Daily Herald editorial board before unveiling his plans to the Statehouse media later this afternoon. Here’s a bit of what former federal prosecutor Patrick Collins had to say…

The reform commission wants to put Illinois campaign law more in line with federal law, limiting donations from individuals to $2,400 per election cycle and contributions from unions, businesses and interest groups to $5,000.

That would mirror federal guidelines, which haven’t really cleaned up DC all that much.

Under the proposal, contributions from registered lobbyists and trusts would be banned and outside groups would have to make donors public.

I cannot see how contributions from lobbyists - a group of people protected under the constitution - can be banned.

On the contracting end, the commission is proposing rules to isolate procurement officials from political bosses and institute a watchdog agency to oversee state spending

We’ll have more details here later today.

* 12:38 pm - The Trib has a list

*Hold primary elections in June, closer to the November general election, to cut down on costs and length of campaigns.

That’ll never happen. As I’ve pointed out before, legislators would have to take a lot of tough votes at the end of session in May, then immediately face the voters in a June primary. Not gonna happen. And it’s probably not such a great idea, either. If you think legislators are averse to tough votes now, just require a June primary and see what happens.


*Increased disclosure requirements, including requiring contributions of $500 or more to be reported more quickly year-round instead of only before an election.

*Requiring political action committees to disclose “bundling” of contributions from several people of $16,000 or more in a six-month period.

*Amend ethics act to require enhanced training.

*Reduce number of state jobs exempted from a ban on patronage hiring.

*Prohibit campaign contributions by state employees to constitutional officers.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:09 pm:


  2. - Cal Skinner - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:13 pm:

    Let’s see if I understand this restriction.

    If you are a rich guy who owns a newspaper or a radio or TV station, you have no limits on the favorable stories you can run on behalf of your favorite candidate, but, if you are a rich guy who is a manufacturer, you can only give $2,400.

    That’s really equal protection under the law.

  3. - DuPage Moderate - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:14 pm:

    These idiots. Banning contributions, gifts, dinners, etc. from lobbyists only make the current lobbyist more powerful….and pad their bottom lines as they don’t have to shell out money, ie, expenses, on the legislators in Springfield.

    There’s a lot of problems in State Government - lobbyists are not at the top of the list.

  4. - Ghost - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:22 pm:

    === On the contracting end, the commission is proposing rules to isolate procurement officials from political bosses and institute a watchdog agency to oversee state spending ===

    Watchdog agency…. you mean like some kind of State Auditor general? Fiscal crisis they want to create a second office to do what Holland does, but we will be icnreasing state spending?

    Plus they havethe OEIG… an oversight agnecy appointed by the person they are supposed to watch and subject to funding from those they are keeping tabs on, in short a joke which should be disbanded as part of any cuts.

    beef up Hopllands staff, ifneeded, but we dont we already have an auditor general.

  5. - Skeptic Cal - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:23 pm:

    This puts Quinn in the same boat as most politicians. No real guts. Just some luke warm proposals that sound good on the surface but make no meaningful change.
    Insipid. I should not have expected more from him than from the host of legislators who sponsor bills that are ill-conceived and inadequate.

  6. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:30 pm:

    these aren’t Quinn’s proposals, a point Rich makes clear

  7. - Central_IL_farm_boy - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:33 pm:

    Definition of ethics reform in Illinois: Promoting a lot of unrealistic proposals that you know will never be implemented. The result is . . . . . well, we are living with the result.

  8. - The KQ - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:40 pm:


    What defines a political boss? The majority, if not all, of the procurement abuse under Blago was caused by the Directors and Deputy Directors put in place by Blago. We couldn’t award a contract without getting approval from Blago’s people. Under the current Procurement Code, purchasing is “managed” by State Purchasing Officers – all of whom are supposed to have a “dotted-line” report to their Chief Purchasing Officer one of whom is the Director of CMS. What do you achieve by isolating them other then potentially creating yet another fiefdom in state government. By isolating procurement officials, you would essentially be cutting them off from the agency senior staff. Let’s also not forget that the Director, Chief legal officer, and chief fiscal officer of an agencies must sign any contract that is over $250,000. Last I checked, those three positions are generally “political bosses”. So in essence, this is really calling for another rewrite of the procurement code because you cannot achieve this separation without a rewrite.

  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:45 pm:

    The only way to truly isolate anyone from “political bosses” is to require they be appointed by a bureaucrat, who was appointed by a bureaucrat, ad infinitum. Not exactly “reform.”

  10. - Helm - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:50 pm:

    Is there a freedom of speech/association issue with prohibiting state employees from being able to contribute to whomever they choose ?

  11. - Princess - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 1:08 pm:

    “*Prohibit campaign contributions by state employees to constitutional officers.”–

    So if a state worker could not contribute to say someone running for SOS or Governor, so could not the union who uses volunteer worker funded contribrutions as it is state worker contributions into the contributed funds. No? Clarify please?

  12. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 1:17 pm:

    So all I have to do is stay current on my lobbyist registration and I’m off the hook for campaign contributions? Sweet!

    Sorry Senator, I’d love to buy a ticket to your fundraiser, but that would be against the law. Oh, thanks again for your support of my bill! I got a nice bonus from the company for that!

  13. - Brock Berlin's Clipboard - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 1:26 pm:

    Rich is totally right about the constitutional prohibition on categories of donors. If statewide elected officials choose of their own volition not to accept donations from state employees (either under their auspices or not), that’s their choice. If any candidate chooses not to accept donations from registered lobbyists, they’re free to do that.

    These decisions may be in the spirit of good government, or just a tactical maneuver. But in those situations, the candidate chooses, not the government. For the government to say that an entire class of people doesn’t have the right to express themselves through financial support of political candidates is unconstitutional.

    You could easily imagine a transparency compromise here (identifying donations from lobbyists, reporting the percentage of donations from lobbyists or companies with registered lobbyists, that kind of thing), but that obviously doesn’t have anywhere near the same impact.

  14. - Belle - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 1:47 pm:

    We have the technology to show who gave every penny to whom. Post it on-line. In kind contributions as well. If you can not say where the money came from you don’t get to keep it. News sources should go back to news, not electioneering.

  15. - scoot - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 2:13 pm:

    I like the idea of moving towards a Mccain-Feingold law. Illinois is the “wild west” of finance laws and we need to crackdown & now is the perfect time.

    I know that corruption takes place in DC anyways, but as long as there is $$$ & politicans, there will be corruption, thats just part of life. There are just corrupt individuals out there…but here in Illinois it’s the norm…two Gov’s in a row people!!

    I’m surprised this committee had such sweeping reforms, hopefully they become law because it’s better then nothing.

  16. - Leave a light on George - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 2:28 pm:

    “If you are a rich guy who owns a newspaper…”

    Ain’t any of those left.

  17. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 2:54 pm:

    Reform is not something that you delegate to someone else. It is a method of doing business. Like “restructuring”, reform can become it’s own cause when it is divorced from the group that needs to be reformed. This is a classic failure in governments.

    Reform has to be a verb for it to be successful. Establishing a reform committee isn’t reforming anything. Instead it allows a broken system to continue functioning without consideration of how it is broken, since that act would be the responsibility of a parallel organization, not those within the broken system.

    Change has to come from within the group that needs to be changed. Same with reform, quality, and resturcturing. If a government divorces these methods of business from a broken system by establishing another group, then it is hoping that change can be forced upon the system. This usually doesn’t succeed because, in this case, the reform group is not a player within the system. The reform group has not a stakeholder in the system’s process, so it’s input is usually rejected.

    Whenever we separate business methods within an organization, we discover that the separation becomes permanent and the organization continues to fail.

    Quinn is wasting our time if he actually believes that this is how reform is done. As a man who has existed for decades outside the Illinois mainstream as a reform candidate, he should have learned that only those with power, have the power to reform.

  18. - Cosmic Charlie - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 3:18 pm:

    Yawn. Thats all the boy wonder could come up with? I could have put that proposal together in an afternoon.

  19. - Cal Skinner - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 3:19 pm:

    If there are no rich guys who own newspapers, then the power goes to the unelected editors to promote candidacies in their news columns and editorials.

    That has a real value exceeding the cash contribution limits being proposed.

  20. - EmptySuitParade - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 3:59 pm:

    Collins finally got to SPI
    Better late than never
    How does he know Blaggo gets indicted?????
    Someone ask what cause he might donate too

  21. - EmptySuitParade - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 4:01 pm:

    Primary moved up to give IL a voice in presidential election —not just help Obama.
    How do “pilot project judges” protect themselves from right wing Repubs (aka US Chamber of Commerce)

  22. - 2ConfusedCrew - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 4:02 pm:

    Anybody else wonder why he keeps using the word “fixes”?

  23. - Ghost - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 4:18 pm:

    The commission will recomend Illinois operate as an anarco-sydicalist Commune:

    we’re an anarco-sydicalist commune. We take it in turns to be a sort of executive officer for the week…but all the decisions of that officer have to be ratified at a special bi-weekly meeting…by a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs…but by a two thirds majority in the case of…

  24. - EmptySuitParade - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 4:21 pm:

    Now they want to end an exemptions for judges and legislature on purchasing —–that’s called seperation of power boys and girls

  25. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 7:20 pm:

    This state ain’t ready for reform.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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