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Lobbying reforms buried in subcommittee

Monday, Mar 26, 2012

* From the AP

Legislation attempting to prevent cozy relationships between lawmakers and lobbyists was squashed Friday by an Illinois Senate panel.

The measures would have required officials to disclose family members who are lobbyists.

Legislators also would have been barred from becoming lobbyists for one year after their terms end and they wouldn’t have been able to negotiate for lobbying jobs while in public office.

Similar “revolving door” restrictions already apply for many federal offices and are common in other states.

The measures were buried Friday in a three-member subcommittee that is controlled by Senate Democrats. The Republican member made a motion to pass the bills. Neither Democrat would second the motion, so the legislation is stuck in the subcommittee.

* Background

In December, former state Rep. Kevin McCarthy, D-Orland Park, quit after 14 years in the House to become a lobbyist for ComEd. The move raised eyebrows because McCarthy had spent the prior two years serving as the main negotiator and sponsor of legislation that gave the utility giant the ability to raise rates on customers with less regulatory oversight.

State Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi, D-Joliet, left the Senate earlier this year to become the chief lobbyist for the Illinois Hospital Association.

The two are among an estimated 40 former lawmakers registered to lobby members of the General Assembly.

Illinois is among 15 states that have no revolving-door provisions for lawmakers. Most states have imposed cooling-off periods ranging from six months to two years.

* Chris Kaergard of the Peoria Journal Star, LaHood’s hometown paper, was outraged

I also have to take issue with what Senate Democrats’ spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon told The Associated Press about the bills. She claimed the bills weren’t “buried,” and in fact that everything was on the up-and-up.

“They received a fair public hearing,” she said. “I also wouldn’t consider the issue ‘buried’ because I believe that there are other senators that are continuing to work on similar issues this session.”

Forget delicacy or diplomacy. The ability to say that with a straight face is unbelieveable. It simply defies logic and flies in the face of common sense.

These are the bills currently on the table. They were ready. They were the ones set for a hearing — and instead were brought up in a farce of a hearing.

There is no excuse — none — for not allowing the bills a roll call vote. These bills are not inherently dangerous in the slightest. There is precisely zero reason that they cannot be allowed to the floor for an up-or-down vote. The failure to do so is an abomination, a perversion of democracy, and the more people who say so the better.

Thoughts?

* And in other Senate subcommittee news

A different panel rejected a plan from state Sen. Dan Duffy, a Lake Barrington Republican, that would have required candidates for office in Illinois to show a birth certificate or other documents that proved they were a citizen.

Candidates need to be citizens to hold office in Illinois, and they have to sign papers when they make their campaigns official stating they are.

Duffy’s plan would have required proof, but the subcommittee voted against it by a 2-1 vote.

He said his proposal was unrelated to disproved rumors that President Barack Obama isn’t a citizen.

“I’m not a birther,” Duffy said. “I believe Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen.”

Frankly, it’s amazing they’re even doing subcommittee hearings since the committee passage deadline has long since past.

* Related…

* Statehouse Insider: Scholarship bill not financial fix

* Bills sponsored by Springfield legislators often go nowhere: Even though they are political opposites of the Democrats who control the General Assembly, neither Brauer nor McCann would complain about the treatment they receive from the majority party. Other Republicans in recent years, however, say Democrats have bottled their bills up in the House Rules Committee, never to be heard from in a committee or on the floor.

* Lawmakers eyeing outdated voter rolls: An effort is under way in the Statehouse to address problems with voting rolls in at least 16 Illinois counties. Under a proposal that could be debated in the Senate [this] week, the state Board of Elections would be required to conduct an audit to determine whether voter registration numbers are current and accurate.

* Editorial: Cullerton: Call the vote - Corrupted scholarship program has to go

* Could suburban ‘lame ducks’ play key role in reforms?: Among Tuesday’s fallen is Rep. Randy Ramey, a Carol Stream Republican who lost a bid for the Illinois Senate. He disputed the idea that lawmakers will change their minds just because they don’t face election. “I won’t flip-flop,” Ramey said. “You won’t see me voting for crazy things that I never would have voted for before.”

* Chuck Sweeny: ‘Drano Law’

- Posted by Rich Miller        


22 Comments
  1. - Shore - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 8:46 am:

    To summarize Senate Democrats who work in a town where the last 2 governors are now federal inmates rejected the same ethics regulations president obama installed in his administration.


  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 8:52 am:

    –In December, former state Rep. Kevin McCarthy, D-Orland Park, quit after 14 years in the House to become a lobbyist for ComEd. The move raised eyebrows because McCarthy had spent the prior two years serving as the main negotiator and sponsor of legislation that gave the utility giant the ability to raise rates on customers with less regulatory oversight.–

    That was pretty raw. If that’s not over the line, it’s walking up as close as you can get.


  3. - just sayin' - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 9:43 am:

    How about Dan Duffy providing proof of anything useful he’s done for his state pay.


  4. - Video - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 9:55 am:

    “Duffy’s plan would have required proof, but the subcommittee voted against it by a 2-1 vote.”

    So this part of the Illinois Constitution falls under the category of “Parts we choose not to enforce.”

    Got it.


  5. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 10:00 am:

    Video, clearly Duffy has blown the lid off the huge problem of non-citizens being elected to office.

    The evidence is overwhelming. The only conservative response to this crisis is more legislation.

    I knew something was up in the primaries when one candidate listed his hometown as “Manchuria.”


  6. - Video - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 10:07 am:

    Word - agreed!

    That is why I said it belongs to the “Parts of Illinois Constitution we choose not to enforce.”


  7. - reformer - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 10:40 am:

    A one-year delay in the lawmaker-to-lobbyist revolving door would take bread right out of the mouths of lawmakers asked to approve the bill.


  8. - titan - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 10:40 am:

    What good would some new “audit” of voter rolls do?

    We already have the statewide voter database’s county by county numbers, and the census data. What the counties don’t have is money to conduct the purge of the voter rolls.


  9. - redrum - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 11:18 am:

    Darin LaHood, who was appointed by the hand of his powerful political father, thinks others should disclose this information? Heck, we already knew it. What other sitting state Senator in Illinois is holding Fundraisers in Washington DC? Why would Gucci DC lobbyist give Darin a dime unless they wanted to influence his powerful political father? Talk about rolling around in a pig-pen Darin!

    Duffy is no better thinking he can run through red-light after red-light and not pay a price. Slow down Danny Boy!


  10. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 11:25 am:

    Word,

    How was it pretty raw? It’s a completely accurate statement. McCarthy was a strong leader to pass the ComEd legislation and he then quit mid-session to become a utility lobbyist. I know everyone around here thinks he’s a great guy, but that move stinks as badly as Mike Jacobs as the leader lobbying for his Dad’s bill.

    An anti-revolving door statute would be a great first step and it will never happen for the reason reformer cited above.


  11. - That Guy - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 11:28 am:

    “Frankly, it’s amazing they’re even doing subcommittee hearings since the committee passage deadline has long since past.”

    Unless Senate sub-committee deadlines were to be extended like they were this year.


  12. - Dana Heupel - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 11:48 am:

    Illinois Issues’ April cover story is the revolving door between lawmakers and lobbyists.
    http://tinyurl.com/Illinois-Issues
    Logon=Illinois; Password=Issues


  13. - Michelle Flaherty - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 12:31 pm:

    Subcommittees meet and vote nowadays?


  14. - Abu Iskandr - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 12:53 pm:

    Titan — Raw US Census data cannot be used by any entity, Federal or state (even law enforcement), except by the Census Bureau itself.

    Anyone can use the released aggregated information (provided individual persons, families, and businesses cannot be distinguished), but I’m not sure I follow how it would be applicable for electoral information.


  15. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 1:34 pm:

    While living in New Zealand, my brother was not only able to vote in their elections, but also served on jury duty.

    America’s anti-immigrant fever is absurd and embarrassing. We’ll be selling the Statue of Liberty for scrap metal next.


  16. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 1:52 pm:

    But we are guessing it is o.k. to “revolve” from your state funded press room office to the state funded magazine/university payroll and cluck about those awful lobbyists?
    Bleeping unreal


  17. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 2:22 pm:

    Hmmmmm

    I was asked to show proof of citizenship after winning my election. Is this something new?


  18. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 2:34 pm:

    “While living in New Zealand, my brother was not only able to vote in their elections, but also served on jury duty.”

    The NZ rule is - “Citizens, along with permanent residents who have been in New Zealand for a year, are required to enroll”

    So if your brother was a LEGAL, permanent resident for more than a year, that would be ok. NZ does not allow illegal immigrants of any kind to vote.

    The only ‘anti-immigrant fever’ (your term, not mine) is the concern that people are coming into this country illegally. What is wrong with expecting people to abide by the same rules the rest of us have to follow? What should prospective immigrants who are waiting years in order to immigrate legally do? Should they come in illegally?


  19. - wordslinger - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 3:23 pm:

    –Word,

    How was it pretty raw? It’s a completely accurate statement. McCarthy was a strong leader to pass the ComEd legislation and he then quit mid-session to become a utility lobbyist.–

    That was my point. It’s raw to go straight from being a GA member carrying the water for an interest to being their lobbyist.


  20. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 3:51 pm:

    BTW, I’m with Michele…when did subcommittees start voting?!?


  21. - Dana Heupel - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 4:58 pm:

    Circ - Fair enough. But when I “cluck,” I put my name on it. Kinda makes you wonder who’s the real chicken here, don’t it?


  22. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Mar 26, 12 @ 6:42 pm:

    Word,

    Got it. Thought you were taking issue with pointing it out as opposed to the offense itself. It was pretty outrageous. Even more outrageous was the complete lack of outrage. It’s just expected around here. Sad but true.


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