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Leader McConchie lays out anti-corruption legislative agenda

Friday, Sep 23, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) released the following statement on Governor JB Pritzker’s hypocrisy on ethics reform and the price that is being paid by his inaction:

“The Governor’s recent comments on ethics reform are nothing more than an attempt to paper over his poor record on public corruption as he seeks re-election. The truth of the matter is, he has sat silently by as Democratic legislators failed to even discuss, let alone allow a vote on many anti-corruption measures that have been filed in the General Assembly this legislative session. The hypocrisy is rich. If he really believes that work needs to be done on new ethics legislation, where has he been?”

Senate Republicans have proposed several measures to address the systemic corruption issue within the Democratic Party, yet the Senate Ethics Committee did not meet a single time this year. Additionally, not a single piece of ethics legislation was heard in the entire General Assembly this session.

“The Governor wants to talk big on integrity and ethics within our government, but his record has shown little desire to put action where his mouth is. His silence and failure to lead on this issue continues to enable the corruption in his own party that is so toxic to us all.”

Following a watered-down ethics package that passed in 2021, and after Democrats promised “their work wasn’t done,” Senate Republicans reintroduced their preferred measures in Senate Bill 3636, Senate Bill 3030, and SJRCA 16 this spring legislative session, only to be met with silence and inaction.

Senate Bill 3636 would:

    • Prohibit a General Assembly member, their spouse, or any immediate family member from lobbying as long as the individual is a member of the General Assembly.
    • Prohibits a legislator during their term of office from negotiating employment with a lobbying firm (such as a job after their term of office), if that firm lobbies the General Assembly.
    • Strengthens the revolving door for General Assembly members to prohibit them from lobbying for 12 months after leaving office (currently 6 months with a major loophole allowing GA members to lobby a day after their term ends).
    • Limit a lobbyist’s political activity so that anyone who is a lobbyist cannot be an officer for a candidate’s political committee or be a candidate supported by a political action committee.
    • Expand the authority of a statewide grand jury to investigate and indict offenses involving the corruption of a public official, to include theft, fraud, extortion, or a violation of the official misconduct and public contracts articles of the criminal code of 2012.
    • Expand Illinois’ R.I.C.O. law to include bribery, official misconduct, solicitation of misconduct, and legislative misconduct.

Senate Bill 3030 would:

    • Give the Legislative Inspector General (LIG) the ability to issue subpoenas without prior consent of the Legislative Ethics Commission (LEC).
    • Require Legislative Ethics Commission meetings to be open to the public and meetings must be publicly posted.

SJRCA 16 would:

    • Amend the Illinois Constitution to allow voters to recall more elected officials, including members of the General Assembly and local government officials.

“There is a high societal cost to corruption when people don’t have faith in their government. That cost is a weakening of democracy, where no longer are elected officials looking out for the public’s best interests, but their own instead.”

In the last several years, four members of the Senate Democratic Caucus have been indicted and/or convicted on federal corruption charges.

That prohibition against negotiating employment with a lobbying firm is needed. Your thoughts?

       

18 Comments »
  1. - thoughts - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 9:29 am:

    ==That prohibition against negotiating employment with a lobbying firm is needed.==

    What legislators have negotiated with a firm before leaving or even work at lobbying firms that aren’t their own? There’s only a small percentage of members leaving and turning to lobby, and nearly all have opened their own shops.


  2. - thoughts - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 9:35 am:

    There’s an obsession with the idea that members retire/resign and become lobbyists, but only a small number do. The irony is that those who do are often the ones people considered to be the more ethical members, including Elaine Nekritz, Matt Murphy,Jim Brosnahan, Dave Sullivan. With the exception of Murphy, they all formed their own entities.


  3. - Socially DIstant Watcher - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 9:41 am:

    He’s looking at separation of powers and right to petition problems. But as a press release, this is pretty good.


  4. - 4 eyes - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 9:42 am:

    ===Limit a lobbyist’s political activity so that anyone who is a lobbyist cannot be an officer for a candidate’s political committee or be a candidate supported by a political action committee.===

    Not sure what this actually accomplishes other than to throw around a few buzzwords that will rile up voters. All it will do is bring even less transparency as lobbyists helping campaigns now just can’t be “officially” on the committee documents and filings.


  5. - Annonin' - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 9:42 am:

    Hey McConk how about we expand the reach to include the families of former members so we could give the handiwork of the CONfessed Congressman, Ray LaHood, and his “loans” from the oil baron, lies to FBI and phony records filings. Did he share the “loans” with Smiley” (aka Darren) Did Smiley get the Trump DOJ to give Dad the pass. Did Griffie get his gag order lifted so he could trash Kilbride in Griffie’s ads. Maybe the GOPies should head back to the LRB for amendments.


  6. - Homebody - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 9:46 am:

    I’m 100% on board with taking a MUCH stronger stand against bad behavior by public officials–not just elected, but also when random midlevel people are embezzling, etc.

    However, I am strongly opposed to making recall processes easier. We’ve seen in recent years that most of those tools are usually just used by moneyed interests to gum up the works and waste public resources for political aims, not actually legitimate ends.


  7. - /s - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 9:47 am:

    I readily admit to not being as up to snuff on Illinois lobbyists as I am on other aspects of Illinois politics, but a lot of these seem like solutions in need of problems. Or maybe I’m just naïve to the massive influence the officer of a campaign committee wields such that it requires prohibiting lobbyists from doing it.


  8. - Chicagonk - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 9:51 am:

    The solution is electing legislators with better morals. Considering how many legislators are appointed and then reelected once they have the incumbent advantage, maybe the Democrat and Republican parties could do a better job vetting who they are appointing. Have each candidate meet with someone to assess their integrity.


  9. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 9:52 am:

    I don’t really reject too many of these, but they don’t seem to really hit the heart of the issue. Like, which one of these would’ve prevented Jones? Maybe statewide grand juries would’ve helped, but I dunno, he’s indicted under the status quo system.

    I would reject more recalls, though. I fundamentally don’t like them, and recent CA recalls have shown that they’re used way more to vent people’s spleens over policy disputes rather than to fight corruption.


  10. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 9:53 am:

    ==recent CA recalls have shown that they’re used way more to vent people’s spleens over policy disputes rather than to fight corruption==

    And to be fair, the WI recall attempt showed that, too.


  11. - SaulGoodman - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 9:55 am:

    thoughts - you’re missing a lot of people though… off the top of my head, in (mostly) recent years, lobbyists turned legislators:

    Anazette Collins, AJ Wilhelmi, Litesa Wallace, Marlow Colvin, Pam Althoff, John D’Amico, Art Turner, Art Turner Jr, John Cullerton, Mike Tryon, Ed Sullivan, Donner Trotter, Chris Nybo, David Reis, James Clayborn


  12. - Baloneymous - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 9:58 am:

    ===That cost is a weakening of democracy===

    Senator, while I agree that more needs to be done in Illinois regarding ethics, since you had to make a point about “Governor JB Pritzker’s hypocrisy on ethics reform” I would also like to point out your own hypocrisy. There is a member of your own caucus who is running for governor and has supporters who are election deniers, insurrectionists and/or insurrectionist apologists and conspiracy nuts. He even received an endorsement from TFG who is still denying the 2020 election. Those people are actually weakening our democracy and by you only pointing out Illinois Democrats in your press release is blatant hypocrisy.


  13. - Benjamin - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 10:27 am:

    I see all these proposals as positive or neutral with the eception of the the recall provisions. As Arsenal stated above, those are more often used to vent frustration than to recall a politician we’ve suddenly realized is sleazy.


  14. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 10:53 am:

    ==those are more often used to vent frustration than to recall a politician we’ve suddenly realized is sleazy==

    I would also add that all House members only have 2 year terms. Every senator will face a 2 year term every decade, too, although it depends on when.

    I’m just not sure there’s much value in adding recalls to officials who already have to face the voters in, like, 18 months.


  15. - Quick Question - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 12:03 pm:

    Hypothetical: If a legislator called on to resign will not, and they win the general election because they have no opponent, should those constituents be forced to be represented by that person for the next 2-4 years? Or should they have a right to recall?

    That said, it could be a slippery slope for other illegitimate scenarios.


  16. - Primate - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 12:46 pm:

    Thoughts…. I think your list is off a bit. Phelps, Lang come to mind. Those employment opportunities, after leaving office, were obviously negotiated while still serving. The loophole legislators, along with other policy makers, use is that they claim to be doing communications not lobbying. I would say a clear definition of the two need to be discussed.


  17. - Unionman - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 2:21 pm:

    Expand the negotiations to include all State Agency heads or Commission members


  18. - SubGebius - Friday, Sep 23, 22 @ 3:43 pm:

    Lemme see if I got this straight… the guy who was paid by the oldest “pro-life” outfit pushing legislation to outlaw abortion wants to “Limit a lobbyist’s political activity so that anyone who is a lobbyist cannot be … a candidate supported by a political action committee.”


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