Senate Republicans help to strengthen ethics laws, still want more reform

On May 31, the Illinois General Assembly approved a package of reforms that address some of Illinois’ most glaring ethical problems.

Senate Republicans say the package that was sent to the Governor will hold elected officials to a higher ethical standard by empowering the Legislative Inspector General (LIG) to independently investigate allegations of political corruption without first having to obtain permission to investigate from a panel of sitting lawmakers.

The package also:

Reforms and strengthens the statement of economic interest disclosures by adding new disclosure requirements for legislators and their spouses, including disclosure of debts;
Requires consultants to register and for lobbyists to disclose any contractual relationship with a consultant for the purpose of influencing the legislature; and
Prohibits fundraisers across Illinois on session days or the day before or after a session day.

Despite the good measures found in the proposal, Senate Republicans noted that this is just the first step to rooting out corruption and they will continue to advocate for giving the Attorney General powers to use a statewide grand jury to investigate, indict, and prosecute public corruption crimes so that Illinois doesn’t have to wait on the federal government to come in.

Additionally, Republicans continue to advocate for a stronger legislator-to-lobbyist revolving door prohibition so that sitting legislators cannot resign and become a lobbyist the next day.

The reform package is found in Senate Bill 539, which has been sent to the Governor to sign.

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