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Passing a bill is only a step, not the solution

Saturday, May 30, 2009

* Another reformer who believes passing a bill will solve all our problems

[John Jackson, visiting professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale] said the stream of state officials accused of corruption, such as Thursday’s indictment of Chicago alderman Isaac Carothers on bribery charges, would keep post-Blagojevich reform fresh in the public mind.

“Are these guys paying attention to what’s going on?” Jackson said of Carothers. “What does it take?”

The City of Chicago has a campaign contribution cap on vendors. Carothers allegedly got around that when a developer funneled a contribution through somebody else

It was further part of the scheme that in order to disguise and conceal the extent of Grand Central Center’s campaign contributions to defendant CAROTHERS, defendant BOENDER directed an employee of Grand Central Center to make a $1,500 donation to the New 29th Ward Democratic Organization and reimbursed that employee for that contribution.

And then there was the alleged violation of the much-lauded (by Illinois reformers) federal campaign contribution cap

It was further part of the scheme that when defendant CAROTHERS asked defendant BOENDER for his financial support of Candidate A’s campaign, BOENDER, in order to curry favor with defendant CAROTHERS, made campaign contributions to Candidate A in excess of the maximum allowed under federal election law. In order to disguise and conceal the fact that he was making campaign contributions to Candidate A in excess of the maximum allowed under federal election allow, BOENDER directed at least two individuals to make $2,000 donations to Candidate A and reimbursed those individuals for those donations.

* Some House Democrats are not pleased

Meanwhile, the House did not send along to Quinn contribution-cap legislation that passed the Senate on Thursday over strong objections from government watchdogs and former federal prosecutor Patrick Collins, head of a Quinn-appointed panel charged with cleaning up state government.

More than a dozen House Democrats withheld support in a rare act of rebellion against Speaker Michael Madigan, who negotiated the package with Quinn and Senate President John Cullerton.

“We’re expected to follow along like lemmings and take a loyalty test over and over. This question isn’t a loyalty test,” said Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston), who was among 15 Democrats and 46 Republicans to press Madigan to discharge a tougher plan from his tightly controlled Rules Committee.

The protest didn’t work, and a spokesman for the speaker indicated Madigan intends to push forward with the package he, Quinn and Cullerton negotiated to cap individual contributions at $5,000 and corporation and labor union contributions at $10,000.

The list of HDem revolters…

Boland, Burns, Chapa LaVia (Didn’t vote), Colvin (Present), Franks, Fritchey (Didn’t vote), Hamos, Jakobsson, Joyce, May, Mell, Mendoza, Nekritz, Osterman, Riley, Ryg

* Good point Number One in the Tribune today…

At times, reform efforts were stalled by battles of ego and arrogance on both sides. Legislators dismissed outsider ethics advocates as trying to paint them all as corrupt. But some self-described good-government advocates portrayed their agenda as a “my way or the highway” approach and attacked those who opposed any of their reform proposals as supporting the status quo.

Good point Number Two…

In many ways though, the reform push was treated to the same political gamesmanship and horse-trading that typifies any major issues at the statehouse. Most Democrats, who control the House and Senate, hailed their efforts to change the ethical climate in Illinois

Number three…

“Reform never starts from the top and dribbles down,” said Rep. Bill Black (R-Danville). “Those at the top have a vested interest in what got them to the top and what keeps them at the top. If you really want reform, it has to start at the bottom and work its way up.”

As in “voters.”

* The Daily Herald looks at the meat of the reform bill that passed the Senate…

Unions, businesses and other special interests would be banned from spending money on behalf of candidates under a campaign finance law advancing toward the governor’s desk, a move that substantially restricts outside influence on politics but not without consequences.

Every campaign season, scores of business and labor workers get paid to staff Republican and Democratic campaigns across the state, a practice that would be prohibited effective Jan. 1, 2011 under the reforms.

But the practical impact could be that campaigns become more reliant on the political leaders in each party to provide the paid foot soldiers and staffers that once came from elsewhere. Neither the Republican nor Democratic party organizations would face similar prohibitions.

* Related…

* Gov’s Wrong. We Can Do Better

* Proposed campaign limits won’t take effect until after 2010 election

* As good as it gets?

* Compromises Water Down IllinoisAnticorruption Bills

* Campaign finance limits one step closer

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Saturday, May 30, 09 @ 12:14 pm:

    These campaign finance limits are really wack-a-mole.

    And how can you bar citizens — whether “business, labor or special interest” –from working on campaigns? Or a party from slatemaking? We’re not going to toss out the Bill of Rights because of Blago, are we?

    There’s a breed of goo-goo that doesn’t much like representative democracy and would much rather have commissions of non-elected “experts” decide everything. The cure is starting to sound worse than the disease.

  2. - Shore - Saturday, May 30, 09 @ 1:56 pm:

    Am I the only person that thinks there’s no way any kind of “reform” gets passed without the people writing it having found ways to get around it?

    For those that don’t earn a public paycheck it’s also ridiculous that you are spending your time on this when you might have noticed the economy sucks.

  3. - Collar Observer - Saturday, May 30, 09 @ 3:10 pm:

    The “not voting” sure as hell doesn’t indicate revolt - it re-inforces that this is all a political game. Putting the chickens in with the real revolters is unfair at the very least.
    Keep up the coalition building Nekritz - but cross off the two no voters off your list!

  4. - These Are My Thoughts - Saturday, May 30, 09 @ 3:34 pm:

    “Another reformer who believes passing a bill will solve all our problems”

    I don’t see any indication that he’s saying this is the only solution, but I wonder if this is just Jackson’s area of expertise, or maybe what he believes to be the most significant step, and therefore the one he’s paying closest attention to in order to judge our state politicians’ response to corruption. Because of all the political issues we have here in Illinois, I doubt we’re going to get a very high grade from him or any other policy expert.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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