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Pritzker again talks about forcing lobbyists to disclose what they’re being paid

Thursday, Nov 7, 2019

* Tina Sfondeles asked Gov. Pritzker today about his ethics proposals in the coming week and during the spring session

“We ought to begin with some bills around transparency, making sure that we know what lobbyists are getting paid, making sure we know who lobbyists are representing, that there’s a common database perhaps so that people could look up all the contributions that are related to a specific company and lobbyists and legislators.”

Asked if an outright ban on state lawmakers being lobbyists in any capacity should be part of that package, Pritzker said he’s “absolutely committed to the idea that we have to look into [it].”

“You see that Rep. Arroyo was a lobbyist for other levels of government. I think that is challenging and problematic,” Pritzker said. “Once again I’m not sure we’ll be able to do the proper amount of investigation and hearings in the three legislative days that are left here this year. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t aim at getting the best and most comprehensive ethics reform package through that we can.” […]

[Sen. Don Harmon] said “…It’s long been a source of angst when other elected officials are lobbying the General Assembly, and I would presume that members of other bodies would feel the same way. A more clear standard of what is and isn’t lobbying is probably a good place to start that conversation.”

Discuss.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

36 Comments »
  1. - Kam's Floor - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 2:54 pm:

    Weak.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 2:56 pm:

    The only avenue that makes some sense to this is to require those *paying* to disclose the payment(s) *to* folks.

    The responsibility of those hiring, they will think who they want to disclose whom they are paying.


  3. - Nonsense - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 2:56 pm:

    Why do you need to know what lobbyists are getting paid? What does that have to do with elected officials taking bribes?


  4. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 2:58 pm:

    ===absolutely committed to the idea that we have to look into [it]===

    I am totally, 100% behind delaying consideration of the proposal.


  5. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 2:58 pm:

    Every lobbyist on the ILSOS directory receives unsolicited campaign donation requests from pretty much every legislator in Springfield multiple times per year. If we require lobbyists to disclose their compensation, all you’re doing it making it easier for legislators to extract more cash from a vulnerable group.

    I’m a registered lobbyist, but I ain’t no millionaire and my political contributions are strictly voluntary, but don’t think for a second that this disclosure won’t result in more inappropriate fundraising requests.

    I would greatly prefer a ban on lobbyists making donations at all. That would be doing me a favor. That’s the only scenario where I could be persuaded to support compensation disclosure.


  6. - Deflect. Rinse. Repeat. - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 2:59 pm:

    Gotta hand it to the Govs people. They took a situation where two elected officials were allegedly bribing and accepting a bribe and turned it into a fight against lobbyist. Genius.


  7. - Ginhouse Tommy - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:11 pm:

    I think JB means well but this might be a stretch.


  8. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:15 pm:

    ===If we require lobbyists to disclose their compensation, all you’re doing it making it easier for legislators to extract more cash from a vulnerable group.===

    You gotta hand it to the GA. Intentionally or unintentionally, they’re doing a great job of twisting Arroyo indictment into something they can benefit from.

    This seems like an argument to just ban elected officials from lobbying altogether.


  9. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:17 pm:

    The solution to “The Arroyo Problem” is being sponsored by Durkin. Ban General assembly members and their household members from being contract lobbyists.

    I would apply that to all state and local government officials, whether elected or appointed.

    I would not apply it to “in house” lobbyists. Diana Rauner should not have been forced to give up her job just because her husband was elected. There was never any confusion nor any doubt about whom Mrs. Rauner was lobbying for at any given time. Just as there was never any question about any other elected official whose spouse was in government relations.

    The solution to the “ComEd Problem” such as it is is not for Mike Kasper to disclose how much he is being paid, but for ComEd to disclose how much it is spending on lobbying activities. Unless we are planning on having the Illinois Policy Institute open its books as well?


  10. - Deflect. Rinse. Repeat. - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:27 pm:

    — I would not apply it to “in house” lobbyists. Diana Rauner should not have been forced to give up her job —

    What? Huh? Are you saying contract lobbyists are unseemly but in house are somehow cleaner? That An outside lobbyist for the aclu should report but the in house ones don’t? IPI doesnt have to report what they pay their lobbyists?

    You can’t have it both ways. Everyone reports or no one reports.


  11. - Big Picture - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:28 pm:

    ==The solution to the “ComEd Problem” …[is] for ComEd to disclose how much it is spending on lobbying activities==

    Agreed. They should also disclose all advertising, PR, paid media, earned media, Foundation spending, PAC donations and other ways that they may influence an issue.

    That said, this would enhance the regulatory burden on small companies, not for profits, unions and other groups at the Capitol.

    This will be a hard nut to crack without getting 1st amendment attorneys involved.


  12. - PlsSenSorMe - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:28 pm:

    Does the definition of a lobbyist include the CEO of a state who doubles the pay of other high level government employees so they will have dual loyalties? Yeah, …I know–it comes out of his own pocket–he can afford it because he doesn’t have to pay Illinois tax on income stashed in the Caribbean.


  13. - Wow - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:28 pm:

    Legislators/elected officials in trouble.. JB’s response?? Don’t go after elected officials.. go after private citizens… priceless


  14. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:32 pm:

    === Diana Rauner should not have been forced to give up her job===

    LOL.

    That’s news to The Ounce.


  15. - Responsa - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:33 pm:

    “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be lobsters.” Well, the song title is a little bit different but you get the general idea.


  16. - Snicarte Slim - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:34 pm:

    Agree with 47th Ward. If this is to becomes a requirement then a prohibition on political contributions by lobbyists should be a part of the package.


  17. - Wow - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:35 pm:

    DEFLECT: you can’t exempt in-house lobbyists. That creates an unconstitutional special class. Lawsuit waiting to happen


  18. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:35 pm:

    My point?

    The problem with examples like Mrs. Rauner is that this type of request… was not going to happen.

    Her position and brand was a choice and discussing before Bruce ran, we don’t even know if Bruce would’ve ran if that ban existed for Diana.


  19. - SteveB` - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:35 pm:

    Im am all for it


  20. - just curious - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:44 pm:

    This is a problem created by former and current legislators who are registered lobbyists. There are numerous individuals who must register as lobbyists, even though they work for a not-for-profit, so they can represent their membership. Most of those lobbyists do not donate to any legislator or political party. The dues pay for their salary. Go after those who are abusing the process.


  21. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:47 pm:

    I don’t like it and I m not a lobster. I’m not even sure I even know any. I do like making corporations tell us how much they spend to influence polititans on all levels.


  22. - Legislator - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:47 pm:

    If lobsters have to report all their earned income then maybe we Legislators should also report all our earned income… Including any spouses (some of whom have politically connected employment). If it’s good for the goose…


  23. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:52 pm:

    They should go after those plumbers who remove toilets for the avoidance of paying property taxes.


  24. - Point of Order - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    === Diana Rauner should not have been forced to give up her job===

    Was Diana Rauner ever a registered lobbyist?


  25. - Joe Bidenopolous - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 4:07 pm:

    Totally agree with 47th again. It’s pretty ridiculous that legislators get caught with a hand in the cookie jar and they decide to take it to an entirely different group of people, but that’s pretty much peak Illinois.

    So, it looks like sometime in the near future I will be disclosing (at least some) of my income. But that roll call will come in handy when I decide who’s off the contribution list for the future


  26. - Centennial - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 4:08 pm:

    Serious question. Ignoring the fact this does nothing to prevent legislators from breaking the law — Did JB ever disclose exactly how much private money is supplementing the salaries of his own senior staff? Talk about good for the goose. Geez


  27. - {Sigh} - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 4:16 pm:

    Maybe lobbyists and state employees should swipe their badges as they enter the capitol? Also require adult visitors to swipe their state ID’s. If there is ever a disaster at the capitol, then there would be record of who was there.


  28. - austinman - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 5:28 pm:

    As a registered lobbyist, if I have to say how much I get paid I would prefer to being banned from making political contributions, because not all of us are making a ton of money, and I don’t want more legislators asking me for money just because they would now know how much I am making. But I am sure the high price lobbyist who are lawyers will figure out a way to skew the numbers.


  29. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 5:40 pm:

    I love the comments about making “corporations” disclose. If that is the case, then we also need the same rules for unions, local units of government, universities, etc.


  30. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 6:15 pm:

    Banning lobbyists from making political contributions will run into some Citizen’s United trouble no doubt especially when lobbyists haven’t even committed the misdeeds that is sparking reform.


  31. - Centennial - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 6:24 pm:

    @ Annyonmous @5:40: ummmm … unions, local governments, and universities already have to publicly disclose salaries. Welcome to the party.


  32. - May Soon Be Required - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 7:17 pm:

    Because Cullerton, Sandoval, Arroyo, Link


  33. - Anon - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 9:11 pm:

    How about we have all office holders disclose the full salary paid to state employees, even if paid through a private entity.


  34. - Duff - Thursday, Nov 7, 19 @ 9:34 pm:

    If this goes through, then we have to worry about some of our
    less than scrupulous brethren scanning the lobbyist list looking to underbid and poach our clients. Bad idea.


  35. - Eire17 - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 5:54 am:

    Two crooked pols hook up—let’s not forget the payee has a tax fraud issue so if it’s not who some people say it is then we have yet another member of the senate in trouble—and I have to tell the world who pays me what? How does that fix the problem? I once had a client who primarily helped the poor. Guess what? I priced it at next to nothing as a way to give back. But another client who was charged much more might not see it that way. This makes no sense. But classic. Two crooks get together and it’s the lobbyists fault.


  36. - BoSox - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 7:30 am:

    We can’t forget to make sure high level state employees aren’t retained as “consultants” while publicly employed. That’s been a game for years.


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