CHICAGO – As state legislators prepare to return to Springfield for the fall veto session on Tuesday, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today called on the General Assembly to pass meaningful ethics reform and laid out what principles must be included to ensure his signature.
“The people of Illinois issued a mandate for reform last November. They are fed up with the corruption and cronyism that’s become so commonplace in state government. We must not pass up this chance to fix a broken system,” Blagojevich urged lawmakers. “I don’t care how you go about doing it – approve my amendatory veto, or override it and pass an entirely new bill – the process doesn’t matter to me. All that matters is that we end up with real ethics reform that includes real enforcement measures.”
The Governor spelled out the principles that must be included in an ethics package for him to give his approval.
- Limitation on the purchase of food and drink by lobbyists for state employees, ending the long standing practice of lobbyists wining and dining state officials without limit.
- Elimination of the “golf and tennis” loophole in the Gift Ban Act, so that lobbyists can no longer use the exemption to treat legislators or state employees to expensive golf or tennis outings anywhere in the world.
- Creation of a “revolving door” rule for state employees, so state employees are prohibited from joining an industry today that they regulated yesterday; or from awarding a contract or a license to a vendor on Monday, and going to work for that vendor on Tuesday.
- Ban on constitutional officers starring in their own public service announcements, to ensure state advertising dollars are used to promote important state services, not the names or images of state officials.
- Mandatory ethics training for all state employees, so every employee has an opportunity to learn the rules, and is given the tools to follow them.
- Creation of Independent Executive Inspectors General to ensure independent investigations and oversight over each constitutional officer.
- Establishment of an independent Ethics Commission with oversight powers over all executive branch constitutional officers, to oversee the work of the Inspectors General, review allegations of wrongdoing and make recommendations for disciplinary action.
“The inclusion of these principles in any ethics reform bill is not only crucial to its success, it is necessary for me to sign it into law,” said Blagojevich.