image
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.


* Schilling endorses LaHood
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Duckworth to announce on Monday
* Rauner mulls selling Thompson Center
* Question of the day
* It's just a bill...
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Brown: Exploring an exploratory committee is "under review"
* Rauner administration denies union report of progress on fair share suit
* *** UPDATED x2 - Durbin out of the running? *** Illinois Republicans react to potential Durbin elevation
* Is a new era finally dawning in Illinois?
* Meanwhile, in Opposite Land...
* Good morning!
* 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

          
        * 5 top #TileArt tips from March’s top #TileArt artist
        * Did HTC do enough to improve the One M9?
        * Mobile Marketing Trends To Follow From The Israeli Elections
        * Pebble Time concludes Kickstarter campaign, pledges exceed $20 million
        * Profits almost doubled for ZTE last year
        * Mysterious Huawei Honor handset pictures leak
        * Verizon starts pushing out Lollipop update for the Galaxy S5… Again!

        * TaiG Issues Update On iOS 8.2 Jailbreak
        * Unlocked HTC One M9 Now Available Directly From The Company
        * Verizon Galaxy S5 Lollipop Update Released
        * T-Mobile Galaxy S6 Edge Already Shipped To Few Customers
        * Former HP CEO Fiorina: Chances of Presidential Bid ‘Higher Than 90 Percent’
        * Five Best Headsets with Attached Microphones
        * Sorry Einstein, 'spooky' quantum entanglement is real

        * 'Athletic' Sale makes progress during simulated game
        * 'Athletic' Sale makes progress during simulated game
        * White Sox second base competition back to square one
        * Quintana powers through, locks down A's after first
        * Semien faces White Sox, praises good friend Johnson
        * White Sox not concerned about two key bullpen members
        * Williams remains optimistic for White Sox season

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


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

        Archives
        March 2015
        February 2015
        January 2015
        December 2014
        November 2014
        October 2014
        September 2014
        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


        * A short-term budget fix, but still a long-term .....
        * Chicago-area cousins accused of planning US ter.....
        * DreamWorks' 'Home' bests 'Get Hard' at box offi.....
        * Gov. Bruce Rauner's business prescriptions are .....
        * Israel premier expresses 'deep concern' on pend.....
        * Bill pushes for possible municipal bankruptcies.....
        * Rauner: Will County ‘doing pretty well … but ca.....
        * Chuck Sweeny: Poll shows most support Gov. Bruc.....
        * Bill would allow Illinois' cash-strapped local .....


        * 7-year-old plane crash survivor to live with half-sister
        * Former opponent endorses Emanuel in Chicago mayor's race
        * Illinois school district provides Internet to needy families
        * Skunks stinking up spring season in suburban Chicago
        * Bill pushes for possible municipal bankruptcies in Illinois
        * Chicago mayoral runoff election pulling in early voters
        * 12-year-old shot to death in Quincy
        * Chicago's retired Cardinal George readmitted to hospital
        * Chicago universities study astronaut on 1 year space mission
        * Bison to graze at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

        * Statehouse Insider: Now the tough budget talks begin
        * Effingham native Jim Schultz brings entrepreneurial spirit to state agency
        * Rauner's 'right-to-work' proposal focus of larger debate on business climate
        * Effingham native Schultz brings entrepreneurial spirit to state agency
        * Irresistable force, immovable object on business reform
        * Rauner considering appraisal of Chicago's Thompson Center
        * Budget-patching deal dips into various state funds
        * Comptroller Munger expedites funds to child care providers
        * Lawmakers' budget deal raises concerns over burial costs
        * Former Congressman Schilling making 'special announcement' Saturday in Peoria

        * Former opponent Fioretti endorses Emanuel
        * Indiana governor supports bill to 'clarify intent' of religious-objection law
        * Indiana governor defends religious-objections law: 'This is not about discrimination'
        * Chicago likely to get sacked by NFL draft
        * Would Cat be better off at half the size?


          * Bill pushes for possible municipal bankruptcies in Illinois
          * Slain manager of Chicago rapper had just met with Bulls' star about anti-violence group
          * Shamrock Shuffle a colorful opening of Chicago running season
          * Shamrock Shuffle prompts street closures
          * 2 critically injured in Southwest Side crash
          * 2 killed, 4 wounded in city shootings
          * Indiana governor supports 'clarifying the intent' of religious objection law
          * Emanuel critic Fioretti to endorse mayor for second term
          * Emanuel and Garcia scour city for votes
          * Cops: Woman dies in crash after husband drove car off closed bridge


          * With GOP votes, Indiana House approves religious objection bill
          * After spending scandals, Rep. Aaron Schock says goodbye
          * Legislature to consider Madigan plan to fill state budget gap
          * Rauner signs into law compromise plan to fix budget hole
          * Where can a politician wield more influence? Chicago's City Council vs. Illinois' Statehouse
          * More people moved away from Illinois last year than any other state
          * Flamin' Hot Cheetos top Chicago Public School vending machines
          * Flamin' Hot Cheetos top some Chicago Public School vending machines
          * Flamin' Hot Cheetos top Chicago Public School vending machines
          * ACLU: Chicago police make more stops than New York at its peak


          * Statehouse Insider: Now the tough budget talks begin
          * Statehouse Insider: Now the tough budget talks begin
          * Bernard Schoenburg: Use of city seal on campaign materials becomes issue in Ward 7 race
          * Our Opinion: In Springfield mayor's race, Jim Langfelder gets our endorsement
          * Effingham native Jim Schultz brings entrepreneurial spirit to state agency
          * Andy Shaw: Illinois' legislative scholarship program like a zombie that won't die
          * Rauner's 'right-to-work' proposal focus of larger debate on business climate
          * Rauner considering appraisal of Chicago's Thompson Center
          * Phil Eaton: Illinois can't arrest, treat or bury its way out of heroin epidemic
          * Charles Krauthammer: The GOP racing form: First edition


          * Daily Digest 3/29/15
          * ISU hit with $1.7 million state cut
          * Lady Blues fall to Lake Forest
          * People in business
          * Local Scoreboard
          * Dour leads Tigers to win
          * Beardstown rallies to beat North Fulton
          * (No heading)
          * Driver killed in Illinois 9 collision near Bloomington
          * Regional Fallout: SIU cuts may have ripple effects


          * Harper College promises two years of free tuition
          * France's far right breakthrough expected in local elections
          * Firmino earns Brazil 1-0 win over Chile in friendly match
          * Yankees' Teixeira hit on leg by pitch, says he's fine
          * Officials: Iran nuke talks solving some issues, not others

          * Post office named for prominent Champaign ...
          * Congressman helps anti-drug overdose clini...
          * ‘Smelled it, tasted it, felt it’: VFW lead...
          * As relations with Israel collapse, Obama p...
          * Post office named for Champaign County's 1...
          * U.S. Rep. Dold backs bill to nationalize r...
          * Senators pitch changes to FEMA disaster de...
          * Presented by Healthcare Education Project:...
          * St. Louis-area members of Congress votes f...
          * Illinois Republican Joins Push for Nonpart...

          * More changes in the wind for the U.S. Senate...
          * Chuck Sweeny: Poll shows most support Gov.......
          * How Chuck Schumer rose to the top of the U......

          * Senate unanimously passes budget amendment......
          * Arab League to create collective military ......
          * 10 Senate races considered most likely to ......
          * Boehner's goal? Keeping '218 frogs in a wh......
          * Congress as kabuki theater: A late-night v......

          * I can’t resist posting this comment about the Tribune and Hinsdale senior Marissa Dupont.
          * Chicago 10th Ward debate.
          * Rauner sinking to Blago-level approval levels. No support for his attack on Fair Share.
          * The White Sox Report: Enter Courtney Hawkins
          * Enter Courtney Hawkins
          * Chicago Voter Registration Numbers Increased By 20,000 Since February
          * Fioretti Endorses Emanuel
          * Endorsed by the Daily Herald
          * “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
          * Congress Parkway Bridge Temporarily Closed Early Sunday Morning


          * Governor Rauner Takes Bill Action
          * Nominating Petitions Available For Illinois Commodity Board Seats
          * Health Matters: 2015 Illinois Minority Health Efforts - Creating & Sustaining Healthy Communities
          * ‘Text First, Talk Second’ Often Best Way to Contact Loved Ones When Disaster Strikes - IEMA Encourages People to Have Plan for Communicating with Family Members, Friends during Emergencies
          * New Illinois Server Training Law effective July 1 - State currently offering FREE responsible beverage server classes




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