On May 17, the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus unveiled a comprehensive ethics reform package designed to hold politicians accountable and give law enforcement more tools to combat public corruption.
The newly filed legislation (Senate Bill 1350) comes following weeks of delays on passing meaningful ethics reform measures. Senate Republicans noted that time is running out this legislative session and stressed the need to target corruption.
Senate Bill 1350 would help root out government corruption by:
- Allowing the Attorney General to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate, indict and prosecute bribery and misconduct by members of the General Assembly;
- Authorizing state’s attorneys to use wiretaps to investigate crimes of public corruption;
- Granting the Legislative Inspector General the ability to investigate members of the General Assembly without first receiving approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission;
- Banning legislators from lobbying other branches of state government or units of local government for compensation;
- Requiring legislators to wait one year after leaving office, or until the end of the current term (whichever is longer) before they can become a lobbyist;
- Prohibiting a legislator from leaving office and continuing to use their campaign fund to support lobbying activities; and
- Updating the Statement of Economic Interests to enhance the disclosure of potential conflicts of interest.
State Senator Fowler says the only way that Illinois lawmakers can begin to rebuild the public’s trust is to pass meaningful ethics reform that will truly address the ongoing corruption that currently plagues the state.