In mid-August, Senator Terry Link became the latest on a long list of disgraced Illinois lawmakers who have been indicted on corruption charges during the last year. In response to the announcement that Senator Link will face charges of federal income tax evasion, State Representative Amy Grant (R-Wheaton) is renewing her call for a special session on ethics.
“House Republicans have been fighting for ethics reforms for years, and our efforts are continually blocked by the Democrats who control the flow of bills in Springfield,” said Rep. Grant. “Right now, the House Republican Caucus has 59 different ethics reform bills that have been filed in the current 101st General Assembly. Not one of them has been granted a hearing and not one of them have been brought to the floor for a vote.”
Rep. Grant called a package of bills recently touted by House and Senate Democrats nothing more than “smoke and mirrors” as they try to obtain political cover in the current political climate. “This small group of House and Senate Dems presented a reform package, but failed to acknowledge that almost every one of their ideas was already in bill form, filed by a House Republican earlier this year,” said Rep. Grant. “In addition, after touting the package, not one of them called for a special session where the bills could be acted upon. Not one of them demanded that Governor Pritzker call us back to Springfield for a special session on ethics reform. Until these lawmakers are willing to stand up to their leadership and demand a special session to address ethics, it’s hard to take their overtures seriously.”
Included in the House Republican package of bills that were blocked this year is Rep. Grant’s HB 4002, which would put in place a two-year prohibition from when a statewide elected official, executive or administrative head of a State agency, or member of the General Assembly leaves their position and when they can become a lobbyist. “Illinois is one of only a few states that has no ‘revolving door policy,’ which prohibits high-level state officials from serving in their position one day and lobbying their colleagues the next,” said Rep. Grant. “There should be a cooling down period of at least two years.”