SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that his sweeping ethics reform package that strengthens the gift ban act; bans all state constitutional officers from soliciting campaign contributions from their employees; curtails fundraising by state regulators; and limits the influence of former state officials in the awarding of state contracts has been reintroduced in the House.
The content of the bill is identical to HB1330, which passed in the House but was never released from the Senate rules committee.
“When I proposed this package last year I said that these ethics reforms are essential for the people of Illinois to have confidence in their state government. That is even more true today,” Gov. Ryan said. “It is important that we strengthen our campaign fundraising laws and ensure there are no questions in the public’s mind about the integrity of the operations of state government.”
House Minority Leader Lee A. Daniels (R-Elmhurst) and Rep. Elizabeth Coulson (R-Glenview) are sponsoring the legislation, House Bill 6027.
A keystone of Gov. Ryan’s proposal is the codifying of his executive order banning nearly 70,000 employees from contributing to his political campaign fund or from soliciting others for contributions. This new legislative proposal also expands the ban to all executive branch constitutional officers and candidates for these offices. Gov.
Ryan also proposes codifying Gov. James R. Thompson’s 1977 executive order that
prohibits the solicitation of political contributions from any entity regulated by a state department, agency, board or commission on which an individual serves.
The proposal also expands the so-called “revolving door” prohibition. State officers or employees would not be able to take some jobs with a private sector
employer for 2 years after leaving state government if they negotiated or administered
state contracts with that employer prior to leaving state service. The ban would include lobbying the procurement process or proposing bids or contracts on behalf of the employee or the firm, partnership, association or corporation.
Other key proposals in the ethics package include:
- Gift Ban Act— This proposal strengthens the state’s Gift Ban Act to address constitutional concerns raised by several Illinois courts. The law is now on appeal before the Illinois Supreme Court. The measure would remove judges, school districts and local governments from the act and defines and clarifies the definition of gifts. The bill proposes banning employees from accepting gifts of more than $100 with a limit of $75 for food and beverage catered or consumed on the premises.
- Ethics Commission -- This proposal creates two ethics boards, one for the executive branch and one for the legislative branch, that would be able to provide rulings and advisory opinions on ethics questions regarding state officials or employees. The boards would also investigate and rule on certified written complaints about state and legislative office holders and employees.
- Prohibited Offers of Promises -- Besides limiting campaign fundraising, Gov. Ryan’s proposal includes a ban on promises of jobs, promotions, preferential treatment or salary raises by executive branch officers, employees or candidates in exchange for campaign contributions.