SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Get over it, already

Friday, Feb 8, 2013

* When you’ve got the lowest approval rating of any governor in the country and two prominent members of your own party are openly contemplating a primary challenge and people are lining up around the block in the other party to challenge you in a general election, you can expect stories drenched in hostility like this one from the AP

The idea seems simple enough: Ban Illinois lawmakers from voting or taking action on anything that might benefit them personally, all in the name of honest government.

But the ethics proposal Gov. Pat Quinn outlined in his State of the State speech has sparked questions about whom it targets and whether it’s necessary as the state deals with mountainous financial problems. Some Republicans and political experts also have alleged political motives, suggesting the Chicago Democrat was simply floating the proposal to lay the groundwork for what could become a pet issue in his 2014 re-election bid. […]

Some lawmakers said they were confused by the timing: Illinois traditionally enacts reforms in the wake of scandal, and they expected more details on finances when Quinn has made overhauling pensions his top issue for more than a year. Illinois has a nearly $100 billion pension problem, the worst of any U.S. state.

What a bogus excuse. Financial details will come in the March budget address. This was a State of the State address. The fact that so many people who cover the Statehouse and work there can’t seem to differentiate between the two boggles my mind. This happened last year as well. Enough, already.

* Also, timing? Yeah, there’s an election coming up, but Quinn has been pushing this issue for years and years. From the transcript of his SoS address

But our constant mission to restore integrity to Illinois government cannot end here. We have more work to do.

In 1976, I led a petition drive to ban conflict of interest voting in the General Assembly. 635,158 voters signed this petition – the greatest number of signatures ever gathered on a single petition in Illinois history.

Silence about conflict of interest voting wasn’t our Illinois then, and it’s not our Illinois now. We can do better.

Conflicts of interest are regulated all over: from the Illinois Supreme Court, to right here in the Executive Branch.

And more than 30 states have banned conflict of interest voting.

Illinois should too.

With this reform, we can keep moving towards a state government that always puts the people first, and a government that tackles the tough issues, no matter how hard.

* And then there’s this objection

Some lawmakers pointed out Quinn’s plan might duplicate legislation already being considered.

Democratic state Sen. Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge sponsored a bill calling for more lawmaker disclosure of economic interests. While legislators have done so for decades, the forms they use are outdated, Kotowski argues. He has proposed requiring more information — relationships with lobbyists, for example — and allowing them to be viewed online.

Yes, Kotowski has a decent bill. The governor gets to propose his own stuff, however.

* You have to go way down into the story to find the meat of the problem…

Illinois statute says when taking an official action, like a vote, a lawmaker should “consider the possibility” of eliminating the interest or abstaining from the official action. Unlike federal lawmakers who face strike provisions and can be investigated by bipartisan ethics committee of their peers, the state law guidelines contain no provision for enforcement or penalties.

The legislature’s inspector general, Thomas Homer, calls Illinois’ laws “somewhat farcical.”

He pushed reforms in a 2011 report he issued detailing problems, including relationships with lobbyists. A former lawmaker himself, Homer said his office received two dozen complaints last year, and about half were related to potential conflicts of interest. However, Homer said his hands are tied when it comes to acting on the complaints. Any investigations must be approved by a commission, and he doesn’t have power to punish or take action.

The difference is that congressmen are full-timers who have outside income bans. Illinois is by design a citizens legislature, despite its relative high pay.

* Then there’s this

Quinn’s plan is aimed at limiting votes cast by lawmakers who haven’t been accused of any impropriety — including lawyers, real estate agents and entrepreneurs with business interests in the state.

I seriously doubt that you’ll convince all the lawyers in the General Assembly to list their law firm clients. I’m not even sure that they can. But that’s ultimately where the, um, conflict will be.

* I’m one of the governor’s most intense critics. But I’m sick of the annual whining about how the State of the State address isn’t the budget address.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


18 Comments
  1. - siriusly - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 10:21 am:

    Dead on Rich, this bellyaching about this week’s speech is lame. Both Quinn and Kotowski are right on this point.

    The amount of disclosure and the conflict of interest provisions for state lawmakers are pathetic and weak. The open meetings act requirements and ethics laws they impose on local government officials are far more strict than what they require of themselves. They should mirror what is required of local government officials.

    It’s not aimed at anyone, I’m not pointing a finger at anyone. But all lawmakers should be required to more accurately disclose any possible financial interest and they should all be required to recuse themselves (or be prohibited) from voting on or working on bills relate to those interests.


  2. - Todd - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 10:21 am:

    Seems the ethics disscussion has hit the law of unintended consiquences. That new senator harris, will no longer be able to do his speaking engagements for which he is compentated being a former member of the NFL.

    He did this before, being elected and was part of his income and business. Makes no sense and shows the folly of some of these ethics proposals


  3. - Makandadawg - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 10:26 am:

    How can you make a law like that when everyone is suppose to “Have Skin in the Game”.


  4. - Nohopeforillinois - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 10:30 am:

    Dumb idea. Under that logic, no legislator could ever vote on any tax reduction - it would benefit them personally. No lawyer could vote on legal issues; no other licenses professional could vote on issues affecting their practices!? Identity of legal clients is often privileged anyway.


  5. - reformer - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 10:31 am:

    A waiting period before retiring legislators can join the Third House would prevent lame-ducks from negotiating their lobbying gig while still voting on the interest group’s bills.


  6. - JustMe_JMO - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 10:35 am:

    “Homer said his hands are tied when it comes to acting on the complaints..”

    Why do we even have a Legislative Ethics Commission if they have now power to act?


  7. - anon - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 10:41 am:

    My thoughts exactly, Rich. Its amazing that the press bites on his critics comments about the speech lacking specific “budget” details. I understand why his critics make these statements — because they consider most people to be too stupid to understand that what they are saying is not a credible critique. But, the media shouldnt let them get away with it. Why not ask Leaders Cross and Radogno to explain why they feel the governor needs to do a budget address during the state of the state. Something to keep the process honest. Sheesh!


  8. - Ray del Camino - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 10:47 am:

    Conflict-of-interest laws are not hard. Lots of states have them and implement them. Go to the National Conference of State Legislatures website and get a look at some of them. Revolving-door legislation would be good, too. PQ is right on this one.


  9. - 47th Ward - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 10:52 am:

    ===I’m one of the governor’s most intense critics.===

    I’ll quibble with this one Rich. I’d say you’re a persisent critic, or maybe a consistent critic. I just don’t think intense is the right word. Maybe thoughtful critic is better. Quinn has intense critics to be sure, and most of them post here every day.


  10. - walkinfool - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 11:04 am:

    All of these supposed difficulties with stronger laws on conflict of interest? Come on!

    Of course we should pass them — just like many other states, who seem to do fine with them.

    It sounds like all the supposed difficulties that would come with our proposed marriage equality bill — fables for those afraid to face change.

    Start with Kotowski for transparency, then add some enofrcement to it.


  11. - walkinfool - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 11:05 am:

    “enforcement”, sorry


  12. - Amalia - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 11:47 am:

    Kotowski has always been loud in praise for himself.


  13. - John A Logan - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 11:54 am:

    I find it curious that there is criticism of the critics. Just because its the “state of the state” address does not mean Quinn couldn’t or shouldn’t lay out budgetary visions and details.


  14. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 12:38 pm:

    - does not mean Quinn couldn’t or shouldn’t lay out budgetary visions and details. -

    He did that. The critics are whining that there weren’t enough specific details, which belong in the budget address.


  15. - hum - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 1:57 pm:

    == The open meetings act requirements and ethics laws they impose on local government officials are far more strict than what they require of themselves. They should mirror what is required of local government officials.==

    They are the same.

    ==Go to the National Conference of State Legislatures website and get a look at some of them. Revolving-door legislation would be good, too. PQ is right on this one. ===

    We have a revolving door law this is more strict than most states.

    ==Why do we even have a Legislative Ethics Commission if they have now power to act? ==

    They do have power to act, but they cannot remove a member from only. Only the chamber, or the voters, can do that.


  16. - hum - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 1:58 pm:

    sorry for the typo

    They do have power to act, but they cannot remove a member from OFFICE (not only). Only the chamber, or the voters, can do that.


  17. - dave - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 2:44 pm:

    **We have a revolving door law this is more strict than most states.**

    Not for legislators though…


  18. - Just The Way It Is One - Friday, Feb 8, 13 @ 3:53 pm:

    ===Financial details will come in the March budget address===

    Ain’t THAT the truth! Year IN, year OUT it’s the same. Those criticizing are ONLY looking to sickeningly score political points, as if Pat Quinn is lax/remiss deliberately trying to pull some fast one on us–what a joke!! But let’s face it–we’re only a little over 13 months ’till the next Gubernatorial Primary Elections, and as we all know, the jockeying has already begun…!


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Patronage buster back at it; Rauner robos get cold reception
* Not yet
* Question of the Day
* REAL Peoria mayor defends Twitter raid
* Noland lone "No" vote on Madigan for DPI chair
* 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

          
        * Samsung shows why the GS5′s display looks as good as it does
        * iOS 7.1 code reveals that Siri will reach the new Apple TV?
        * Duet Takes On Tile With A Small, Square Lost Item Finder That Also Lets Your Replace The Battery
        * Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 to hit T-Mobile shelves this summer
        * Samsung shares Galaxy Tab 4 US release pricing, dates
        * OnePlus One finally unveiled, launching soon
        * HBO content heading to Amazon Prime Instant Video

        * Netflix Taps Arrested Development Creator For More Shows
        * Heartbleed Left OpenSSL ‘Beyond Repair’ According to LibreSSL Creator
        * Sprint Will Unlock All U.S. Phones Made After February 2015
        * Study: Samsung’s Apps Are Rarely Used by Anyone
        * China Thinks Windows 8 Is ‘Expensive’
        * Three Galaxy Tab 4 tablets coming to the US on May 1st
        * Siri Might Find Its Way Into The New Apple TV

        * White Sox injury updates: Chris Sale, Conor Gillaspie, Adam Eaton a...
        * Rienzo tasked with slowing Detroit's powerful lineup
        * Leesman endures short outing in first start
        * Tigers 8, White Sox 6: Turning a mismatch into a game
        * Leesman endures short outing in first start
        * Ventura not basing decisions solely on pitch count
        * Gillaspie sits out with sore left hand


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

        Archives
        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


        * Meet Mitt Rauner..
        * Baffoe: The Truth Of The Wrigley Field Birthday.....
        * Bruce Rauner details some views on immigration..
        * Gacy case helps solve unrelated death..
        * Hammel, Olt lead Cubs past D'backs..
        * Man convicted in 1957 death appeals..
        * Are Democrats the problem in Illinois?..
        * Correction: Illinois Medicaid-Overpayments story..
        * Hastert among GOP supporters of immigration reform..


        * Peoria mayor defends response to Twitter account
        * Hundreds of cases of pig virus reported in Ill.
        * East Peoria infant's death ruled a homicide
        * Hearing for Air Force staffer in pipe bomb case
        * Police: 1 person dies after van slams into CTA bus
        * Scorekeeper at Wrigley practices dying art
        * APNewsBreak: Gacy case helps solve unrelated death
        * Teen sentenced to probation for Prophetstown fire
        * Happy 100th, Wrigley Field! A few memories
        * Lawsuit seeks investigation of hiring under Quinn

        * Clock ticking for states to adopt health exchanges
        * Madigan re-elected to lead state Democratic party
        * Hastert, other state Republicans supporting immigration reform
        * Lawsuit seeks investigation of hiring under Quinn
        * GOP lawmaker objects to 9-0 vote for Obama library
        * DNR mining-oversight official fired
        * Democrats: Illinois schools could face major cuts
        * State prisons to use costly drug for hepatitis C
        * Illinois Medicaid paying for dead clients
        * Quinn grants 43 clemency requests

        * Boeing makes planes faster, beats estimates
        * Ebony taps Jet editor to take top slot
        * First Midwest to buy Banco Popular's Chicago business
        * FCB, Starcom nab Choose Chicago ad business
        * Why a racetrack honcho put his office in the basement


        * Ari Emanuel’s stake in ride-share firm raises uber questions
        * DNA solves murder of Northwest Side man missing since 1978
        * DNA solves murder of man missing since 1978, mistakenly feared to be Gacy victim
        * Ex-head of suburban religious organization denies sex harassment
        * FBI informant on tape hugging man before shooting him: prosecutors
        * Robo-calls on pension reform bill raise Rauner-Rahm rift
        * Robo-calls raise Rauner-Rahm rift
        * Ari Emanuel’s stake in ride-share firm raises uber questions: Mihalopoulos
        * Vehicle hits Roseland bus stop after police chase, injures 5
        * Vehicle hits Roseland bus stop, 5 injured


        * Watchdog questions free parking for city workers
        * Torrez discusses Zion slayings in jailhouse recordings
        * Gacy case helps clear up mystery from 1978
        * Watchdog questions free parking for city workers
        * Man shot to death in Grand Crossing neighborhood
        * Northwestern football players to vote on union Friday
        * Pawnshop that sold gun in cop killing agrees to report more on sales
        * IHSA lifts suspension of girls basketball coach
        * Emanuel's office rips Rauner robocalls on pension bill
        * Emanuel's office rips Rauner robocalls on pension bill


        * Initial Obama Library Vote A "Misunderstanding"
        * Legislator Protests Madigan As Party Chair, Won't Say Why
        * Tax Returns Revealing ... But Not Revealing Enough
        * Quinn Releases Tax Returns; Rauner's Waiting
        * Illinois Senate Joins Push For U.S. Constitutional Convention
        * Quinn Signs Law Intended To Lower Cost Of Auto Leasing
        * Mayors' group pushes for Illinois pension reform
        * Two don't-miss events this Wednesday
        * Illinois Medicaid Paying For The Dead
        * Wait Continues For Schools' Fate Under Proposed New Formula


        * Our Opinion: Top Teen making Springfield a better place
        * Our Opinion: Computer lab a boost for the homeless
        * Lawsuit seeks investigation of hiring under Quinn
        * Madigan re-elected to lead state Democratic party
        * Madigan: 'Misunderstanding' on Obama library vote
        * Hastert, other state Republicans supporting immigration reform
        * Audit: Treasurer's office has 30 guns not given to police
        * State audit: Police training money misspent
        * Amazon takes hit in states with online tax, study says
        * Bankruptcy court trial sought over $3.8 million paid to Parsons


        * Charges allege couple gave teen drugs, alcohol and sexually assaulted her in motel
        * Disturbance call leads to two arrests in Murphysboro
        * Herrin asking residents to conserve water
        * Shiloh airman accused of making bombs to appear in federal court
        * Belleville recognized as runner friendly community
        * Drive-by shoots man through Washington Park gas station window
        * Drive-by assailant shoots man through Washington Park gas station window
        * Drive-by kills teen at Washington Park gas station
        * Big Ten recruits, games to watch
        * Car dealer says`Buy American' proposal off mark


        * The 10th District money race
        * Aurora Democrat calls out IHSA
        * Lawyers: Ill. hazing law vague, unconstitutional
        * Ill. House OKs lower-cost hunting bill for seniors
        * Quinn’s running mate takes new consulting job

        * Rep. Lipinski Helps Secure Funds for Safet...
        * Rep. Lipinski Reviews Operations at Hanson...
        * Lipinski announces 2014 Congressional Art ...
        * Lipinski seeks artistic submissions - The ...
        * Lemont VFW honors Vietnam veterans - Subur...
        * Lipinski Votes to Protect the Paychecks of...
        * Meet the 8 House Dems who don't co-sponsor...
        * Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook: In this ca...
        * Rep. Lipinski to Honor Vietnam Veterans at...
        * Rep. Lipinski Honors Vietnam Vets on House...

        * Loading Koch Industries Website Too Many T......
        * Maryland and DC among worst for food aller......
        * Cleveland State University to reestablish ......
        * Convicted political boss Al Sanchez runnin......
        * Candidates make last filings for local, st......

        * Illinois Lt. Gov. Simon opposes pension le......
        * Dillard Odd Man Out on Pension Deal Reaction...
        * Sen. Mark Kirk sides with Rauner on pensio......
        * Governor's race infighting threatens pensi......
        * SCHOONERS - Home of Everyone's Favorite Be......

        * Get Some Free Parking Ticket Advice, Free Money For Your Tickets
        * Joel Quenneville's Horse Just May Make It To The Kentucky Derby After All
        * Local Book Notes: Branding The Pope
        * Will County GOP provides insight into how party decides officials and policies
        * Madigan re-elected chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party
        * 8th CD GOP candidate Larry Kaifesh rallies Tea Partiers
        * Weyermuller: Senator Rand Paul urges school choice in Chicago
        * The Chicago Dictionary: Volume Three
        * State Rep. Sullivan says Democrats intend to use Obama Library as wedge issue
        * The [Friday] Papers


        * Governor Quinn Proclaims “Wrigley Field Day” - Home of the Chicago Cubs Turns 100 Years Old Today
        * Governor Quinn Promotes Welcome Home Illinois Program at Annual Affordable Housing Conference - Addresses Industry Leaders on State’s Improving Housing Market and New Program for First-Time Homebuyers
        * IEMA Encourages Participation in ‘America’s PrepareAthon!’ on April 30 - First National Day of Action Expected to Draw Millions of Participants
        * Redeploy Illinois Program Diverts Thousands of Youth From Prison System, Saves State $60 Million - New analysis of prison diversion initiative shows 54 percent reduction in juvenile incarceration
        * Illinois EPA Recognized for 40 Year of Graduate Public Service Internship Partnership with University of Illinois at Springfield - Agency Internship Programs Help Students Gain Real-World Knowledge of Environmental Protection and Regulations




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