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Question of the day

Tuesday, Feb 5, 2019

* Press release…

Targeting campaign fund corruption between lobbyists and state legislators, State Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) has sponsored legislation to prohibit lobbyists with political campaign accounts from donating to members from that account.

“Senate Bill 128 is a measure to prevent retired legislators-turned-lobbyists—and new lobbyists involved with a PAC—from misusing their campaign funds to benefit their lobbying career,” said Tracy. “It is a good government bill that prevents the corrupt flow of campaign money in the State Capitol, and I hope my Senate colleagues will join me in implementing this responsible lobbying regulation.”

The concerning oversight in the lobbying ethics policy was brought to the Senator’s attention by members of the public who inquired about former legislators’ use of campaign funds. Under current law, there are no regulations to prevent newly registered lobbyists who have access to a campaign account from donating campaign funds to members of the Illinois General Assembly. Senate Bill 128 would specify that donations to members from campaign accounts are strictly prohibited and will remain forbidden for two years after the individual’s lobbyist registration expires.

“While I am not aware of any lobbyists engaging in this activity, I was surprised to uncover there is a loophole allowing for it,” said Tracy. “Campaign contributions exist to support the candidate’s run for office, and this is purely a preventative and precautionary measure to ensure those contributions are not abused.”

* The Question: Agree or disagree with this concept? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…

survey tools

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 12:55 pm:

    Why not ban any political contributions from registered lobbyists?

    Pretty please?

  2. - MG85 - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 12:58 pm:

    ==While I am not aware of any lobbyists engaging in this activity, I was surprised to uncover there is a loophole allowing for it==

    Always the hallmark of good legislation begins with no notable cases of harm without the law you’re advocating for.

    I know it’s in fashion to constantly think of ways to limit/restrict lobbyists from doing…well, anything, but the admission that the sponsor can’t point to any activity that would have been prevented, only leads me to ask why we need such legislation.

    Or put simply, a solution in search of a problem. And here I thought Republicans were for less, not more, regulation.

  3. - Perrid - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 1:00 pm:

    This is probably simplistic, but I think campaign funds should be used for the campaign it was donated to. I kinda look side eyed at campaign funds for one individual (who is actively running) being given to another campaign fund. That money was donated to that politician, not to their friends. Party campaign funds are fair game though.

    Anyway, I voted yes.

  4. - DuPage Moderate - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 1:07 pm:

    Sure. Although it won’t change anything. Just more lawyers and business people disguised as lobbyists.

  5. - A Jack - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 1:14 pm:

    No, because I suspect the money would be donated to a dark money organization and then get to the candidate anyway. If you cancel direct transfers you make the process less transparent.

  6. - Commonsense in Illinois - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 1:24 pm:



    Oh…never mind. Fighting corruption where there is no known problem is a bit like the Swine Flu Vaccine - a cure for no known disease.

  7. - Commonsense in Illinois - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 1:25 pm:

    For some reason, my copy/paste of Sen. Tracey’s quote that she knows of no such problems didn’t show up.

    Sorry everyone.

  8. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 1:26 pm:

    Keeping it simple and separate makes transparency easier.

  9. - Perplexed - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 1:35 pm:

    So we now have 2nd class political speech by virtue of our employment?

    This one will end up in court.

  10. - Thomas Paine - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 2:11 pm:

    A solution in search of a problem.

    An unconstitutional solution.

  11. - GMan - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 2:21 pm:

    What do you do if you’re a lobbyist holding a local governmental office or a political office? Seems like a 1st Am violation.

  12. - Century Club - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 2:29 pm:

    Rep. Tracy talks about retired legislators, but the bill language seems to say any lobbyist with a PAC. That would seem to cover local elected officials paid to lobby the State, like Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin. Though, I admittedly don’t know how big a group that is.

  13. - Learned Hand - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 2:41 pm:

    You have a 1st amendment right to lobby and a 1st amendment right to engage in political speech. What is it about about the combination of the 2 that makes it problematic? Wouldn’t this also prevent someone who needs to be registered as a lobbyist for their work incapable of running for an office even if they self fund?

  14. - OneMan - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 3:29 pm:

    == Wouldn’t this also prevent someone who needs to be registered as a lobbyist for their work incapable of running for an office even if they self fund? ==

    Doesn’t seem like that, it seems to be a restriction on you giving the money to someone else’s campaign.

    So if you had money in Joe Blow for State House and were running and a lobbyist you could use the money yourself, just not give to a different candidate.

    Seems like being a lobbyist and having a kitty of political money you control that was given for your use as a candidate and being able to use it while you lobby seems problematic.

  15. - CookR - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 4:25 pm:

    Can we call the this the Lou Lang Law? I’d bet they’re worried about the $1,157,123.03 he still has in his campaign fund.

  16. - Learned Hand - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 4:49 pm:

    == seems to be a restriction on you giving the money to someone else’s campaign.==

    “a person required to be registered under the Act may not make any expenditures from a candidate political committee established on his or her behalf for the period of time he or she is registered as a lobbyist and for 2 years after the expiration of his or her registration”

    It seems like no expenditures are allowed at all, even to benefit yourself, benefit other candidates in areas of government or politics where an individual does not lobby, make a charitable donation or even to shut down a committee by returning contributions.

  17. - Canon - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 7:00 pm:

    The people who should advocate for this bill are the caucus political committees. Nybo was in a close race but held on to over $200k that I’m sure he will use to kickstart his lobbying effort. Bad form

  18. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 5, 19 @ 7:03 pm:

    It certainly has happened in the past.

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