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*** UPDATED x1 *** Durkin urges Greg Harris to restart ethics process

Tuesday, Dec 1, 2020

* Letter to the House Majority Leader from the House Republican Leader…

Majority Leader Greg Harris,

It has become abundantly clear that the House Democratic Caucus and their campaign arm use the concept of “cleaning up Springfield and fighting corruption” as the highlight of their agenda. Actions speak louder than words. There has been decidedly no action taken to match the words of Democratic members even though your caucus controls the legislative docket.

In your role as not only Majority Leader of the House Democratic Caucus, but also Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Ethics Reform and the designated leader for the Special Investigating Committee II, I implore you to utilize your power in moving critical ethics reforms forward for the state of Illinois.

Again and again, we see endless delays instead of action: canceled hearings, using the pandemic as an excuse to not schedule hearings, hiding behind another task force instead of taking action. We have seen those tricks and tactics used by Speaker Madigan for decades to delay taking action on an issue when the status quo is beneficial to himself. Don’t follow that flawed model, Leader Harris.

The Special Investigating Committee II, charged with investigating Speaker Madigan’s bribery scheme with ComEd, was created in August and has only met twice. This is totally unacceptable and a disgrace to the residents of Illinois who deserve transparency.

The Joint Committee on Ethics having not met since March has left all of us wondering if there is any sincerity in the House Democratic caucus on addressing reforms. Did we forget the arrest of Rep. Arroyo and how it caused such a shockwave and hand-wringing through the Chamber?

I urge you in your role as a leader to use your considerable ability restart the process. Avoiding the issue is unacceptable. I hope the House Democrats will join their Republican colleagues in a quest for transparency and meaningful results. Let’s get this done.

Sincerely,

James Durkin
Illinois House Republican Leader

I’ve reached out to Leader Harris for comment.

*** UPDATE *** Leader Harris…

I thank Leader Durkin for his letter. It arrived while I was listening to Dr Ezike outline how many thousands more Illinoisans tested positive for COVID yesterday, and how many more thousands are hospitalized or in the ICU, and tragically how many more have died.

Also, listening to her warnings about the coming surge which could overwhelm our hospitals, and how we can all help reduce transmission. As I have said before I look forward to completing the work of the Commission when it is safe to gather in large groups again, and look forward to presenting legislation based on the Commission’s work.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments
  1. - walker - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 2:52 pm:

    Durkin knows that Harris is already working on this. This letter is so Durkin can claim some of the credit.


  2. - Jibba - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:00 pm:

    ===using the pandemic as an excuse to not schedule hearings===

    As far as excuses go, this is a pretty good one.


  3. - Hot chocolate - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:01 pm:

    How can anyone say Harris is “workin’ on it”’? The only ethics bill to clear the 101st GA was the creation of the ethics commission…that missed its report deadline and hasn’t had a meeting since March? Yeah, he’s workin on it.


  4. - Frank talks - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:05 pm:

    I thought the 19 members not voting for Madigan was the ethics legislation? Isn’t this the outcome Durkin wants?


  5. - people caring loudly - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:05 pm:

    Well Durkin has such great ideas, like HB5789
    Amends the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act. Provides that no member of the General Assembly shall file or sponsor any legislation, where the member’s purpose in filing or sponsoring that legislation is to, whether directly or indirectly, intentionally: cause individuals or businesses to spend money and devote resources to prevent its passage; assist a registered lobbyist or any other person to obtain a financial or other personal advantage in violation of the provisions of this Act; or gain a financial or other personal advantage for himself or herself in violation of the provisions of this Act. Provides that a violation of this provision is a Class 4 felony. Effective immediately.


  6. - Really - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:06 pm:

    Quite honestly, that letter is nothing more than a waste of paper and ink. Ethics and Illinois Democrats don’t belong in the same dictionary and for the GA to take action is almost as likely for something useful to come out of any task force the GA authorizes.


  7. - Pandemic times - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:07 pm:

    I am more surprised how little hgop and durkin have addresed pandemic relief. It seems he flipped the script… the pandemic is not the excuse here, his job description turned into fire madigan.


  8. - Veil of Ignorance - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:12 pm:

    If Durkin really wants to shake things up, then he’ll offer his members to vote for a new Dem House Speaker if a viable candidate steps forward; he might even be able to negotiate more favorable rules , etc. which could be something more tangible than what he’s doing right now. Longshot I know.


  9. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:13 pm:

    =Ethics and Illinois Democrats don’t belong in the same dictionary=

    George Ryan Agrees with you.

    Durkin has basically written this letter before. We get it. He wants us to know that he wants us to know.


  10. - essentially working - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:18 pm:

    By the time it is “safe” enough for Harris to meet in person, Madigan may be under indictment…


  11. - Really - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:26 pm:

    George Ryan was a Democrat, or at least a RINO. (Republican in name only)


  12. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:30 pm:

    === George Ryan was…===

    … a Republican.

    If you can’t grasp that…


  13. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:32 pm:

    Greg could have added how unfortunate it is that Durkin and his caucus decided to prohibit remote legislating and therefore can’t convene as a committee.


  14. - Sue - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 3:36 pm:

    JS- sir I knew George Ryan, George Ryan was a friend of mine - Sir- you are no George Ryan. All kidding aside, I acknowledge that they blame Ryan for the Willis tragedy but the accusations set out in the Com Ed materials in terms of corruption dwarf anything Ryan might have done


  15. - Nagidam - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 4:16 pm:

    Good response by Leader Harris but it does highlight that it has been March since they met and January since the Governor called for serious ethics reform. I understand not meeting now in the middle of a surge in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. But what happened about meeting when hospitals were not in danger of being over run? Positivity rates were under 3%. Leader Harris cannot have it both ways. The reality is the Democrats do not want to talk ethics reform with their Speaker under a cloud and now they don’t have the …whatabout Trump retort.


  16. - Downstate Illinois - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 4:20 pm:

    Harris is stonewalling. Like the Know Nothings of the 19th Century the Do-Nothing Dems of today don’t dare challenge Madigan on his home turf. It’s far easier to lob tweets expressing their displeasure than actually do anything about it.


  17. - Nagidam - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 4:27 pm:

    ===George Ryan was a Democrat, or at least a RINO. (Republican in name only)===

    Actually Gov. Ryan was a mainstream Republican that wouldn’t fit into what has become mainstream Republican Party in todays world. Back in Ryan’s days someone from today that would call him a RINO would have been called a Right Winger. My have times changed.


  18. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 4:39 pm:

    Jim Edgar and James Thompson are also known quite famously for being Democrats.

    ===Com Ed materials in terms of corruption dwarf anything Ryan might have done ===

    If my memory serves me correctly, weren’t 79 people indicted as a consequence of that investigation with almost all of them pleading or being found guilty?


  19. - amalia - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 5:18 pm:

    democrats, you can do both.


  20. - Socially DIstant Watcher - Tuesday, Dec 1, 20 @ 6:27 pm:

    ==the accusations set out in the Com Ed materials in terms of corruption dwarf anything Ryan might have done ==

    Puh leez. “The stuff Ryan might have done” landed over 70 people in jail.


  21. - Odysseus - Wednesday, Dec 2, 20 @ 9:05 am:

    @people caring loudly
    Wow, there’s no possible way that language could be abused. What a terrible bill.


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