Illinois lawmakers gear up for ethics debate

Republican Sens. Dan McConchie, left, John Curran and Jil Tracy discuss competing ethics proposals during a Statehouse news conference Monday, May 17. (Capitol News Illinois photo by Peter Hancock)

Republican Sens. Dan McConchie, left, John Curran and Jil Tracy discuss competing ethics proposals during a Statehouse news conference Monday, May 17. (Capitol News Illinois photo by Peter Hancock)

By PETER HANCOCK
Capitol News Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate is gearing up for a debate over a package of ethics reforms, possibly as early as this week, but it’s one that Republicans say doesn’t go far enough.

Senate Bill 4, which moved out of the Senate Ethics Committee on April 21, is a package written largely by legislative Democrats that would enact new rules governing lobbying, campaign fundraising, who can serve on political committees and the operations of the General Assembly.

Specifically, it would prohibit elected officials, including members of the General Assembly, from lobbying other units of government on behalf of other entities. That became an issue when former Rep. Luis Arroyo, D-Chicago, who also lobbied the city of Chicago on behalf of a client, was indicted in 2019 for attempting to bribe a state senator.

It would also prohibit lawmakers and executive branch officials from going to work as a lobbyist within six months after leaving office, although it would allow lawmakers to work as lobbyists once the biennial session to which they were elected is over. The same prohibition would apply to lawmakers who are hired to work as “consultants” for businesses or groups that lobby the legislature.

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