As indictments, charges, and investigations into state legislators continue to make headlines, the Senate Republican Caucus has introduced a package of bills seeking to root out government corruption among members of the General Assembly, according to Senator Brian Stewart.
The legislative package focuses on two main objectives: enhancing investigative authority within existing laws and ensuring legislators are serving the public’s interest.
Senator Stewart says Illinois already has some strong anti-corruption laws in place, but many of them are rendered toothless because the appropriate authorities aren’t given adequate ability to investigate wrongdoing. To address these shortcomings, the legislative package proposes the following enhancements:
• Senate Bill 4012: Allows the Attorney General to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate, indict and prosecute bribery and misconduct by members of the General Assembly.
• Senate Bill 4013: Provides state’s attorneys with wiretap authority.
• Senate Bill 4014: Grants the Legislative Inspector General the ability to investigate members of the General Assembly without first receiving approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission. Also changes the composition of the Legislative Ethics Commission to make them all members of the general public rather than legislators.
“The citizens of Illinois have been promised action and results for years, only to be met with empty promises and delay,” said Senator Stewart. “It’s clear to everyone that our state has a corruption problem that must be addressed. It makes you wonder what needs to happen to get the Democrats to act, when the leaders of the Democrat-controlled General Assembly haven’t passed any reforms, even as legislators are being indicted and investigated for corruption.”
The Senate Republican anti-corruption legislative package also includes measures to ensure that legislators serve the public’s interest and not their own pocketbooks. Proposals include:
• Senate Bill 4015: Bans legislators from lobbying other branches of state government or units of local government for compensation.
• Senate Bill 4016: Creates a revolving door legislator-to-lobbyist prohibition for one year after leaving office, or until the end of the current term, whichever is longer.
• Senate Bill 4017: Prohibits legislators from leaving office and continuing to use their campaign funds to support lobbying activities. Also prevents appointees to boards or commissions who are confirmed by the Senate from fundraising for, or donating from, their campaign committee while serving as an appointed public official.
• Senate Bill 4018: Updates the Statement of Economic Interests to enhance the disclosure of potential conflicts of interest.