* Background is here if you need it. Mark Maxwell followed up with Sen. Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville)…
Plummer: Certain legislators are making a lot of money from industries where they have a tremendous amount of influence. And I think that the more the average voter in Illinois paid attention, the more shocked they’d be about what’s going on in Springfield. […]
This bill eliminates the opportunity for elected officials and employees of the General Assembly to be owners of privately held gaming enterprises or receive consulting… payments from those entities. […]
A lot of people were surprised by the news that broke at the end of May [about Senate GOP Leader Bill Brady receiving commissions from a video gaming company]. And everyone that I have talked to has been extremely supportive of the general concept. […]
Bill’s inclination was to work more closely with the other leaders to maybe take a slower approach and maybe go after, I think in your article you said ‘low hanging fruit,’ and I would say that, I believe those were the exact terms he used. […]
I agree that the words ‘video gaming’ never came up [in conversations with Brady], that’s not really how things work in Springfield. What was crystal clear was his intention. And his intention was this legislation couldn’t be filed. And his intention was that I couldn’t speak publicly about this legislation. And those conditions and those terms weren’t placed on the other people who were being appointed to the commission. Those terms and conditions weren’t placed on other ethics-related legislation. It was just my ethics-related legislation.
Maxwell: You’re saying he basically offered you a position in exchange for your silence.
Plummer: Yes. […]
Maxwell: Do you still want to serve on the commission?
I very much want to serve on the commission. There’s a significant difference between resigning from the commission [as Brady has claimed he did] and declining an appointment that was very inappropriate. I’d love to serve on the commission.
Other Republican Senators have confirmed to me that Brady originally supported the Democrats’ idea to create a new legislative ethics commission, but had to bow to the will of caucus members who were furious that a “low hanging fruit” ethics bill was the only thing they’d get out of the veto session. Brady and Plummer reportedly got into a heated argument in caucus about this.
Plummer is not the lying type. He may be interpreting things in a different way, but he seems genuine in his belief that he was effectively being silenced in exchange for a little campaign sweetener, when he actually wanted to make some real changes in the way the Statehouse functions. That’s not an unusual thing for a legislative leader to do, by the way. Co-opting members is part of the game.
Brady also does have some issues with his caucus, and while there’s nothing illegal with him profiting from video gaming, some of his members tell me they were most concerned with the fact that he never actually reported he was making money off the industry…
The senator lists Brady Ventures but not [Midwest Electronics Gaming] on his legislative statements of economic interests, which are filed with the Illinois secretary of state under the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act. That’s because payments to Brady from Midwest go through Brady Ventures and are not made to him directly.
And with the recent revelations that the Illinois Gaming Board has given licenses to people with connections to organized crime, the entire industry is now under a cloud.
*** UPDATE *** From Leader Brady’s spokesperson…
· The leader originally supported the ethics commission task force because it was evenly split and not partisan.
· If you’ll recall during Senate Executive Committee, it was changed to become a partisan commission and the leader strongly voiced his concerns.
· The leader then shared those concerns and his opposition to the changes with caucus and that is when they all decided to oppose it.