Online Staff Report
In the wake of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s (D) conviction on corruption charges, State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, R-Belvidere/Rockford, is renewing his push for meaningful ethics reform.
“Illinois has a clear culture of corruption, as evidenced by the Blagojevich and Ryan scandals,” Sosnowski said. “We need appropriate statutory tools to allow law enforcement to effectively investigate public corruption.”
Two bills in the ethics reform package were previously proposed by Sosnowski, but were held up in committee. Sosnowski introduced a constitutional amendment for a more straightforward recall of elected officials. Illinois’ current recall procedure only allows for the recall of the governor and requires excessively high signature requirements to start the process.
Sosnowski also sponsored a bill that would end Illinois’ “revolving door” within state government. Illinois has no prohibition on former General Assembly members seeking state employment. It is common practice in Illinois for lawmakers to retire, only to seek further employment with the state. The influence of General Assembly members on state government operations warrants a revolving door prohibition to ensure public confidence in the decisions made by the members.
“We need to continue the strong push for real ethics reform,” said Sosnowski. “Unfortunately, the legislature has not done enough to move real, meaningful ethics reform in Illinois.”
Other proposals in Sosnowski’s ethics reform package include the following:
• House Bill 3607 requires statewide elections to fill vacancies in the office of U.S. Senator to ensure voters have a voice in filling future vacancies
• House Bill 1048 prohibits gubernatorial appointees from soliciting campaign contributions.
• House Bill 3604 would increase transparency by requiring elected and appointed government officials to disclose additional information on their economic interest statements.
• House Bill 3605 prohibits public officials from discussing fund-raising activities with prospective vendors, job applicants, and other individuals/entities with a personal or financial interest in government outcomes.