SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
The revolving door

Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013

* It’s difficult to argue too much with this editorial

State legislators can take jobs as lobbyists immediately after their time as lawmaker is done.

That means a lame-duck legislator can support a particular bill that sends money into one business or sector and then leave the General Assembly and begin working for that company or in that sector the next day. It stinks, but it’s still legal.

Thirty-five states have laws that force lawmakers to wait between six months and two years before taking a job as a lobbyist.

It’s time for Illinois to pass a law making lawmakers wait at least a year before becoming lobbyists.

Congress has a similar rule, but members get around it by being “of counsel” to lobbying firms until the revolving door ban expires. Reforms ain’t always what they’re cracked up to be.

Still, what bothers me is not so much that members take those jobs, it’s that they apply for them and negotiate their contracts while they are still legislators. Several members, for instance, applied for the bigtime Illinois Hospital Association gig which then-Sen. AJ Wilhelmi got. That process went on for a while, and some pretty prominent members served for weeks while the decision was being made.

And I don’t mean to single out Wilhelmi or the IHA here as a particularly noxious example. AJ is a decent guy and the IHA does good work. He was eminently qualified for that job. I don’t blame them at all for hiring him and he’s proved to be top notch.

But something needs to be changed here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


25 Comments
  1. - Meaningless - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:03 am:

    Would a law really make much difference when we already have big business forces (i.e. - Civic Committee) standing shoulder to shoulder with political leaders announcing THEIR legislative propasals?


  2. - shore - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:03 am:

    members of congress start negotiating and having informal talks about these things long before they take them, there’s stuff you can do, but those other parts of this that are less well defined but more important are virtually impossible to deal with.


  3. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:05 am:

    This is especially irritating since many state employees are prohibited from taking a job for a year under the ethics law. What’s good for the Goose should be good for the Gander.


  4. - Uggie - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:11 am:

    Agree with Norseman. Coincidentally, I just received an email where I have to acknowledge receipt of a document outlining the revolving door provisions of (5 ILCS 430/5-45).


  5. - Allen Skillicorn - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:12 am:

    Getting rid of the lame duck session would solve a lot of these problems.


  6. - Jimmy - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:14 am:

    All of these limitations make it more difficult for good folks without trust funds to serve in government. The public sector can be a great source of experience but more limitations on career choices after a stint in public service may keep some good folks from ever considering it in the first place.


  7. - iThink - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:14 am:

    Although I would like to see a law with a well-defined waiting period to try to limit the blatant vote-buying, I doubt it would do much. There is far too much graft, corruption, and political gamesmanship for such a law to ever be vigorously enforced.


  8. - Montrose - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:20 am:

    “Getting rid of the lame duck session would solve a lot of these problems.”

    How?


  9. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:24 am:

    Well thank God someone’s finally paying attention. When Marlow Colvin leaves the chamber as a legislator on a Friday and returns the following Tuesday as a top lobbyist for ComEd, then you’ve got a problem.

    When Kevin McCarthy leads the fight for the big ComEd smartgrid bill through the session, and suddenly leaves mid-session only to return as a contract lobbyist for, you guessed it - ComEd, then we’ve got a problem.

    The problem with reform efforts in this state is not that they have existed, but that they haven’t gone after the main issues. Revolving door is a great place to start.


  10. - Jimmy - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:27 am:

    Should we also prevent state’s attorneys and public defenders from practicing criminal defense law in the private sector for a year after leave their public post? Doctors working at county hospitals from opening a private practice for a year? Some folks seek public sector experience to do a better job in the private sector down the road. Since we have a very transparent lobbyist registration system in this state, that system should be sufficient for voters (and newspapers) to keep track of who is lobbying and who they represent.


  11. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:33 am:

    Pass the law with a one year period, and let the members beware. At least if they, and their new employers, are caught evading the law, it will be more embarassing.

    There is actually very little, if any “blatant vote-buying”. The problem is more cultural: unstated mutual expectations, and feelings of earned trust and loyalty.


  12. - Irish - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:41 am:

    We just received a monthly letter from the Office of the Inspector General and they were touting their success in stopping someone in a position there from moving to a private enterprise that he had overseen in his state job.

    It is about time for us to take the annual ethics test which we have to take and pass in order to stay employed with the State of Illinois. One of the statements that is pounded into your head throughout the test is “If something appears to be unethical whether it is or not. It must not be done.” In other words the mere thought that something could be unethical is reason for the employee not to do it.

    SB51 that was passed a couple of years ago sets all sorts of rules that MUST be followed in the procurement process including any state employee who has any conversation with any person who might be a vendor for the state about any product or service whether the vendor is used or not, MUST record the complete actual conversation on the State’s Procurement website. ( It must be noted that this law does not apply to Constitutional Officers or GA members or their staffs.)

    Why do none of these apply to the legislators? Wouldn’t our state be so much better off if everyone was made to comply with all of these rules? Rather than have legislators stand up and proclaim that they are not going to take advantage of their legislative pensions, I would like them to stand up and proclaim that they will hold themsaelves to the highest ethical standards and will pledge to resign if they are found to have violated any of the above rules.


  13. - Pension is a promise - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:41 am:

    This is no different than the Department of Juvenile Justice that brings retired employees getting a pension check back on a phony “emergency” 75 day contract several times to do the same job they retired from.


  14. - b - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:42 am:

    Something needs to be done. One year? I say make it 5. To have so little respect for the institution, for the voters that sent you to do a job to make their lives better (not enrich yourself) I think is a real travesty. To retire, or get beat and then go to work for the interests that lobbied you is one thing(after a year or 5), to negotiate with and apply for jobs as a sitting legislator to go to work for interests lobbying you is something entirely different. And people think corruption is only a problem in developing countries. Ha!


  15. - state worker - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    It’s crude and disgraceful. It also suggests that legislators are in the statehouse to find an eventual partner in big business, and not to serve the people. The medical marijuana bill hit up against Cross’ former chief of staff.


  16. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    =Should we also prevent state’s attorneys and public defenders from practicing criminal defense law in the private sector for a year after leave their public post?=

    Isn’t that comparing apples to oranges? Once an attorney–any attorney–joins a firm, conflicts of interest checks kick in and walls are raised if there’s a conflict unless you seek and get a pass due to some extenuating circumstance. And from what I know, there is no expiration date on that practice.

    As a general response to the question, if everyone played nicely, they wouldn’t do anything that would even raise a “perception of impropriety,” possibly avoiding same through full, public disclosure.


  17. - SO IL M - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 12:25 pm:

    In the words of the late Paul Powell
    “You cant pass an ethics bill that I cant get around”


  18. - Eileen left - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 12:36 pm:

    This is a solution looking for a problem. Check the lobbyist registration list and you will find that of the thousands of registered lobbyists only a handful are former legislators.If you are a company looking for representation wouldn’t you want someone who at least knows the players and the issues that they represent? All of the former legislators turned lobbyists that I am familiar with are not only ethical but are intelligent and hard working. Lets try not to rat hole former legislators and staffers as second class citizens.


  19. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 1:08 pm:

    I betcha Pat Quinn will be hired by the great wide Mississippi River as their PR man. He’s a natural!


  20. - OH BOY - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 1:10 pm:

    OR THEY CAN VOTE FOR A BILL THE GOVERNOR WANTS PASSED AND RESIGN THEN GET A CUSH DIRECTOR’S JOB UNDER HIM


  21. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 1:23 pm:

    But a State employee that is on an RFP committee cannot accept a jobfor 1 year (I think) from a company that bids on that RFP. HHHHMMMMMMM


  22. - siriusly - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 2:57 pm:

    Eileen, good point. However small the number, the appearance is very bad especially for the several who resigned mid-term last session and started lobbying immediately after. That’s just wrong.

    There should be a revolving door prohibition for former legislators, I think anywhere from 6 to 12 months is appropriate.


  23. - Faxfan - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 3:29 pm:

    I agree with the comments that if there is a 1yr ban for all the little fish…the big fish should have to wait at least 2yrs.


  24. - reformer - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 4:42 pm:

    There out to be a waiting period, but legislators aren’t about to adopt one, since it would take the bread right out of their mouths. The most successful legislators-turned-lobbyists earn far more after they leave elective office.


  25. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Jan 23, 13 @ 9:51 pm:

    Rich, why did you delete my comment? There was nothing gratuitous in it.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* Fracking rules finally unveiled
* Question of the day
* A big IDOT roundup
* Even Steven, for now
* *** UPDATED x1 - Confirmed *** Report: Libertarians file charges
* Big guys dinged a bit, but little guys helped a lot
* Today's photo
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Touchdown! Football Apps for Windows Phone
        * Is sapphire glass all it’s cracked up to be?
        * Galaxy Note 4 resolution confirmed by Samsung site, poster
        * Apple Finalizes Lineup for 2014 iTunes Festival in London, Starts Tonight
        * Why I wish I could charge my iPhone wirelessly
        * First ROMs for the NVIDIA Shield Tablet surface
        * Automate your Mac: four smart hacks for managing files

        * What is the blue light from our screens really doing to our eyes?
        * StoryWorth Squeezes Stories Out of All Your Family Members
        * Android One May Get Official On September 15th
        * Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Resolution Confirmed By Samsung’s Website
        * Apple Spaceship Campus Takes Shape (Video)
        * AT&T sues Cox over DVR patents
        * More Rumors Suggest That Reversible Lightning Cable Will Not Ship With iPhone 6

        * Breaks turn in Quintana's favor against Tigers
        * Molina outrighted; roster spot opens up for Rodon
        * Wilkins, Snodgress part of White Sox shuffle
        * Noesi looks to continue push toward season's end
        * Breaks turn in Quintana's favor against Tigers
        * Dunn to retire following season
        * White Sox deal Dunn to A's for pitching prospect


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Politicians to greet voters in Labor Day parades..
        * The Ice Bucket Challenge and its virality..
        * Quinn to live on minimum wage for week..
        * Illinois to spend another $102M on high-speed rail..
        * Quinn announces opening of Algonquin bypass..


        * Little League team honored with parade in Vegas
        * Rauner vow revives governor's mansion question
        * Quinn to live on minimum wage for a week
        * Infection affecting west-central Illinois soybeans
        * Newborn baby found alive inside Illinois trash bin
        * Bank loans used to collect unpaid medical bills
        * Man brings 2 military flares to Illinois sheriff
        * 4 shot to death in Chicago suburb of Elmhurst
        * Springfield drug suspect had reinforced door
        * Beyond governor race, big stakes in Illinois vote

        * Does the governor need to live in the Executive Mansion?
        * Statehouse Insider: Hands off investments
        * State of unions: AFSCME wins some, loses some on outsourcing
        * State of unions: Domination of Illinois' workforce becomes campaign issue
        * State of unions: Lawmakers approved keeping some workers out of unions
        * State of Illinois posts applications for medical marijuana businesses
        * DNR issues long-awaited ‘fracking’ rules
        * Quinn grants 38 clemency requests
        * IDNR issues long-awaited ‘fracking’ rules
        * Court rules state retirees can stop paying health insurance premiums

        * If only it were this easy to lift share prices
        * 'Chicagoland' star returns to school
        * Amid re-election fight, Quinn pushes through a tax on business
        * Chicago's worst IPO in 2014: Ryerson
        * Why ComEd is worried about your smartphone


        * Pullman Park needs Congress’ support
        * Leave the Knee Defender at home
        * Dump ‘Fake IG,’  give Ferguson more power
        * Not so fast, say the grown-ups
        * When common sense and gun rights collide
        * Alvarez: Crime lab backlog held up DNA evidence on Evans’ gun
        * EDITORIAL: Jury still out on justice in Koschman case
        * Rogers Park woman killed in crash on Tri-State Tollway near Schiller Park
        * 2 dead, 10 wounded in shootings across Chicago since Friday evening
        * Women at work: Female ministers find obstacles on path to pulpit


        * Tammy Duckworth pregnant, expecting girl in December
        * 1 dead, 11 hurt in shootings across city
        * Cops: Man batters woman and child, throws toddler from vehicle
        * Tougher rules ahead on domestic abuse
        * New sculpture in Niles to be dedicated to St. John Paul II
        * 'As horrible as it sounds, it came out of love': family of 4 dead in murder-suicide
        * No bail for 2nd man charged in killing of woman days before Mother's Day
        * Area gun ranges defend training youths
        * Quinn takes on minimum wage challenge


        * Newborn Found Alive In Jacksonville Trash Bin
        * Donated Breast Milk Helps Sick Infants
        * DNR Releases Fracking Rules
        * Update From Ferguson Via KWMU's Rachel Lippmann
        * Listen to State Week - August 29, 2014
        * Inspector's Report Reveals Clout Hiring At IDOT
        * 'Belleville' The Movie Is NOT A Documentary
        * Journalist and doctor encourage honest conversations about death
        * Undocumented Immigrants Call For Presidential Orders
        * State Retirees To Stop Paying Health Premiums


        * Does the governor need to live in the Executive Mansion?
        * Our Opinion: Driving into floodwater a deadly practice
        * Angie Muhs: A debate in Springfield would send the right message from candidates
        * Charles Krauthammer: Lower corporate tax rates. Now.
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Dillman, Watson looking at possible runs for alderman
        * Statehouse Insider: Hands off investments
        * Statehouse Insider: Hands off investments
        * State of unions: AFSCME wins some, loses some on outsourcing
        * State of unions: Domination of Illinois' workforce becomes campaign issue
        * State of unions: Lawmakers approved keeping some workers out of unions


        * Labor Day parade steps off at 10 a.m.
        * Daily Digest 9/1/14
        * Winery festival homage to ‘Lucy’ grape stomping
        * New festival eyed for Gibson City
        * Area Calendar 9/1/14
        * Ag leaders honored for long service
        * Coach needs time to develop team
        * Bad schedule is by design
        * Coal mine would have future costs
        * Dey's articles on Salaita a pleasure


        * Roosevelt move part of 'tectonic shift' in education
        * How do you build I-290 bridge with 80,000 cars driving by a day?
        * Iraq veteran U.S. Rep. Duckworth announces pregnancy
        * Record-setting Kane County Cougars on a roll
        * Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy wed in St. Charles

        * Representative Jan Schakowsky: On This Lab...
        * Schakowsky: House GOP to blame for gridloc...
        * Dems urge CMS to ensure accurate nursing h...
        * Connie Bruck Whitewashes Schakowsky--and J...
        * Legislation proposes mandating 24/7 nursin...
        * Statement by Representative Jan Schakowsky...
        * Farm Antibiotic Restrictions Proposed - Al...
        * Jan Schakowsky: Tom Marino's Response to '...
        * Telling Nancy Pelosi to do research is sex...
        * Schakowsky blasts Marino for 'sexist' atta...

        * Durbin On Social Security Shortfall...
        * Durbin On Social Security Shortfall...
        * Durbin On Social Security Shortfall...
        * Durbin On Social Security Shortfall...
        * Durbin On Social Security Shortfall...

        * Putin Hopeful Russia Won’t Lose Right to H......
        * Susquenita enters Tri-Valley League under ......
        * Putin hopeful Russia won't lose right to h......
        * Soccer-Putin hopeful Russia won't lose rig......

        * Rauner uses armed investigators to scare off third-party voters. This is what Rauner’s democracy looks like.
        * Labor Day.
        * Kristin Crowell. Beating Rahm requires deep organizing.
        * Life in Rahm’s Chicago. The death of a nameless homeless man in Logan Square.
        * Hidden in Plain Sight: The Architecture of Chicago's Labor Movement
        * Contemplating on Labor Day whether “labor” will influence this election
        * Durbin - Oberweis race tightening; Oberweis endorsed by Bishop Trotter
        * "The Tarot Show" Coming To Uptown Arts Center
        * ... Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?
        * Oberweis will attempt to bypass Quinn with veto override


        * Governor Quinn Invests $102 Million in High-Speed Rail Upgrades on Chicago-St. Louis Line - Funding Will Improve Capacity, Safety on Joliet-Dwight Segment
        * Quinn Refuses to Answer New IDOT Questions
        * IDNR Delivers Revised Rules to Implement Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act - Rules strengthened to ensure public participation, improve transparency, toughen penalties and protect the environment
        * Governor Quinn Proclaims September as “Recovery Month” in Illinois - Encourages people to speak up about mental illness and substance abuse
        * Governor Quinn Dedicates Jane Byrne Interchange - Governor Renames Circle Interchange in Honor of Chicago’s First and Only Female Mayor to Date




            Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller