Illinois Supreme Court ethics
Court makes ethics decision
The Illinois Campaign Reform Coalition, applauds todays Supreme Court decision to throw out the challenge to the 1998 Gift Ban Act. The Courts decision means that this ethics law is now fully enforceable throughout the state. However, federal investigations of public corruption clearly demonstrate the need for further ethics reforms. The Coalition calls on the Illinois General Assembly to pass tough new measures before adjournment.
These measures must include:
l Banning solicitation of campaign funds by government employees and appointees from those they supervise, regulate or license;
l Banning public employees, appointees and elected officials from accepting gifts from those seeking to influence public business;
l Enacting full disclosure on matters related to public business and the use of public resources:
l Instituting ongoing ethics training for government officials and employees; and,
l Establishing a state commission to investigate and rule on ethical concerns and complaints.
More than 40 organizations from around the state as well as all major party candidates for statewide office have signed on to these five principles which should form the backbone of any ethics reform.
Now there are no more excuses. The Court was clear. Its time for the Illinois legislature to do its duty to clean up Illinois government, said Hugo Rojas, director of Common Cause of Illinois.
It reinforces what weve been saying, that ethics in government is essential, stated Mary Schaafsma, deputy director of Protestants for the Common Good.
It is past time to clean up Illinois government. Illinois has an opportunity now to enforce this law vigorously, and at the same time the General Assembly should move swiftly to strengthen ethics and campaign finance regulations, said Cindi Canary, director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
The Supreme Courts decision today to preserve the Gift Ban Act is an important step toward improving ethical standards for elected and appointed decision makers in Illinois, stated Diane Brown, director of the
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Illinois Public Interest Research Group (Illinois PIRG). However, this is only the first step toward the comprehensive ethical standards the public continues to seek for our elected and appointed officials.
Now that the Court has spoken, the Legislature needs to provide clear guidance for how state government should conduct itself, said Jim Reed, legislative director of Citizen Action/Illinois.
Enforcing the Gift Ban Act will help to reduce the potential for money to influence politics, begin to restore public confidence in our elected officials, and work towards a more open. accessible, and accountable governmentall essential elements of a healthy democracy, said Terry Pastika, executive director of the Citizen Advocacy Center.