At a Capitol press conference today, State Representative Dan Brady and members of the House Republican Caucus outlined new legislation to reform state ethics laws and to ensure state legislators will be held accountable for their actions. Brady said a growing number of investigations and indictments for corruption involving state legislators in recent months highlight the need to take action during this final week of the fall veto session.
Rep Brady (R-Normal) is a chief co-sponsor of House Bill 3947 that will ban lawmakers from performing paid lobbying work with local government units while they are in office.
“The current situation permits a clear conflict of interest that invites corruption. Lawmakers can now lobby their colleagues for passage of legislation that benefits their outside clients, and themselves, financially. The ban we are proposing will eliminate that dangerous loophole,” Rep. Brady said.
Rep. Brady is also sponsoring House Joint Resolution 87 would create a nine-member task force to identify areas of concern, review current ethics laws, and propose additional legislative solutions to ensure Illinois is holding public officials accountable. Additionally, he is working for passage of tough new penalties for lawmakers who violate existing ethics laws. House Bill 361 increases fines for legislators who engage in restricted activities and for violating legislator rules of conduct.
Other new reform legislation Rep. Brady and House Republicans outlined today includes:
- House Bill 3954 that will revise statement of economic interests to include more details similar to the information required for judicial statement of economic interest forms. This forces full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and provides greater transparency for members of the General Assembly.
- HJRCA 36 that will require a special election to fill General Assembly vacancies through the same laws governing our party primaries. This will prevent political powerbrokers from picking their preferred candidates for the vacancies.
- House Resolution 588 that will allow a Chief Co-Sponsor of any bill with five co-sponsors from each party to call it for an up or down vote in a substantive committee.
- House Bill 3955 that will create mandatory and publicly available documentation of General Assembly communications with any state agency regarding contracts
In October, Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) became the third state legislator this year to be indicted or implicated in a federal corruption investigation. In just the past few months, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Lake Villa) was indicted on 45 counts of embezzlement and State Senator Martin Sandoval (D-Cicero) was revealed to be under investigation in a widespread federal corruption probe that has ensnared a number of local government bodies and businesses.
“We are sent to Springfield to work for the benefit of our constituents, not business clients or our own bank accounts. Together, these measures will hold members of the General Assembly accountable and help reform Illinois’ unfortunate reputation for public corruption,” Rep. Brady said.