Legislative Inspector General: True ethics reform is not a priority; Sen. Stewart agrees that meaningful ethics reforms needed

SPRINGFIELD – Citing a lack of “true ethics reform,” Legislative Inspector General (LIG) Carol Pope submitted her notice of resignation to the Legislative Ethics Commission on July 14, according to State Sen. Brian Stewart (R-Freeport).
In a letter to the Legislative Ethics Commission announcing she will resign from her post by the end of the year, Pope states her desire to bring about true ethics reform, and expresses her disappointment that her efforts were not as successful as she hoped.
“When I took this job as the Legislative Inspector General, I thought I might be able to make a difference working from the inside. I thought I could be useful in improving the public’s view of the legislature and help bring about true ethics reform. Unfortunately, I have not been able to do so. This last legislative session demonstrated true ethics reform is not a priority.”
Stewart, who is a member of the Legislative Ethics Commission, said Pope has worked diligently to pass meaningful ethics reform with many successes, despite the fact that her push for significant reforms has been blocked many times by Majority legislative leaders.
“The LIG could not be any clearer in her message for lawmakers: ‘This last legislative session demonstrated true ethics reform is not a priority,’” Stewart said.
“We had an opportunity to bring about real change and although we took several steps in the right direction, Majority legislative leaders made sure that our progress fell far short of the kind of meaningful changes that would go a long way toward restoring Illinoisans’ faith in their government.”
Stewart said Pope has held the General Assembly accountable on several occasions, and since 2018 has four founded reports of wrongdoing, to which the Legislative Ethics Commission has responded. Her diligent work has brought to light more wrongdoing during her tenure than any other LIG in Illinois history.
Senate Republican lawmakers sponsored several additional reforms proposed by the LIG that were never called before the Senate Ethics Committee for a hearing.

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