* We talked a bit yesterday about the legislative ethics bill, but not much about the new ethics commission. Jerry Nowicki at Capitol News Illinois…
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, of Western Springs, questioned why language adding requirements to lawmakers’ statements of economic interest was removed from the lobbyist disclosure bill, Senate Bill 1639, by a late amendment Thursday.
Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, who carried the bill in the House, said economic interest disclosures would be discussed by the commission created in House Joint Resolution 93.
“Do we really need a commission to be able to come up with a solution that is, I would say, practical but also the right thing to do?” Durkin asked. “I’ve seen commissions come and go over the years. Many of us look at those commissions with jaundiced eyes because generally they don’t produce the positive results that we think are important.”
The commission’s role would be to study ethics reforms and report its recommendations on specific pieces of legislation to lawmakers, who would have the ultimate authority to enact the measures.
Legislators also created an ethics commission that will develop more comprehensive ethics reforms that lawmakers can take up during the spring session. Gov. J.B. Pritzker will appoint some members as will the four legislative leaders, Secretary of State Jesse White and Attorney General Kwame Raoul. […]
While the ethics bill itself did pass with wide, bipartisan majorities in both the House and Senate, the resolution creating the ethics commission did not. All of the Senate Republicans voted against the measure, saying the makeup of the commission is too heavily weighted in favor of Democrats.
“We need to do something, but we need to do something that is balanced,” said Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington. “Corruption and ethics aren’t partisan. This is an unbalanced, partisan commission, though.”
Republicans objected to White and Raoul, both Democrats, having appointees to the commission. However, Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said the secretary of state and attorney general’s offices play a role in ethics and ethics enforcement and both offices should be represented on the commission.
* Dan Petrella and Jamie Munks at the Tribune…
In response to those criticisms, the final measure requires Raoul and White to name the inspectors general from their offices as one of their two appointments. Pritzker, who gets four appointments to the commission, could name up to four Republicans but only two Democrats.
That wasn’t enough to appease Senate Republicans, none of whom voted in favor of the measure creating the commission.
Republican leader Bill Brady of Bloomington said it would create an “unbalanced, partisan commission.”
“That’s what the people will see, and that will disgust them,” Brady said.
I dunno, maybe run better statewide candidates?
Rep. Tim Butler asked rhetorically, “We’re allowing someone who is a lobbyist in the state of Illinois to appoint a co-chair?” Cullerton is a registered lobbyist with the City of Chicago (he has not logged any lobbying activity since 2016). “There needs to be more balance. I will vote for this because this is a step forward, but hopefully we can address some of those situations,” Butler said.
Cullerton spokesman John Patterson said the city has a much broader definition of lobbyist and that Cullerton is registered out of an abundance of caution “given the legal work he does as a lawyer in Chicago.”
“Obviously he will not appoint a lobbyist to the commission,” Patterson said.
…Adding… Another view…
Kyle lobbies for the social workers.