A blog focusing on politics in Central Illinois.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Wow

The governor has finally released his ethics proposal. From a press release:

* Completely prohibits contributions from corporations and unions. This would be Illinois’ first limitation on contributions from any corporate entity.

* Limits individuals to contributions of $2,000 per candidate per election. This would be the first limit ever placed on donations to candidates by individuals in Illinois.

* Limits Political Action Committees (PACs) to contributions of $5,000 per candidate per election. This is the first limit ever placed on donations to candidates from Political Action Committees (PACs) in Illinois.

* Limits state party contributions to $5,000 per candidate per election.

* Limits contributions to state parties and PACs to $5,000 a year from individuals or other PACs.

* Prohibits an individual from contributing more than $40,000 in total contributions to all candidates, party committees and PACs in any election cycle.

* Includes provisions for candidates whose opponents exceed the threshold amount of personal spending – mirroring the federal law. [...]

* Improves Statements of Economic Interest. Currently, Illinois requires public officials to report limited information about their occupation, employer and potential conflicts of interest. The Governor is calling for a greater level of detail regarding public officials’ financial holdings and potential conflicts of interest.

* Requires Disclosure of Lobby Contracts and Improved Lobbyist Regulations. Current law requires lobbyists to list their clients and gifts on public disclosure forms. The Governor’s plan requires lobbyists to disclose the terms of their contracts, including fees and exactly who they lobby.

* Closes the Revolving Door between Public Officials and Lobbying Firms. Current law places a one-year prohibition on former state employees working for companies they regulated or to which they awarded contracts. The Governor calls for extending the law by requiring a one-year prohibition on all former legislators and state employees lobbying.

* Strengthens the State Board of Elections enforcement powers. For example, the Governor’s proposal would allow the State Board of Elections to perform audits of election committees to determine that the committee is complying with state laws, including contribution limits.

* Distributes non-partisan candidate information through Voters Guides. Voters Guides would be posted online by the State Board of Elections and would contain information such as the date and time of the general election as well as a description of elected offices and statements and photographs of candidates for the General Assembly, statewide executive branch constitutional offices, Illinois Supreme Court Justice, and Illinois Appellate Court Judge.

* Provides More Frequent Campaign Financial Disclosure. Current law requires candidates to report their campaign finances twice a year. The Governor proposes requiring candidates to file their campaign finances quarterly.

* Prohibits law firms, consulting firms and lobbying firms that have contracts with the state (including the Governor’s, Attorney General’s, Secretary of State’s, Comptroller’s and Treasurer’s offices, state agencies or state regulatory boards) from providing income to members of the state legislature, state employees, and board appointees.

* Prohibits legislators or state employees from earning outside income by directly lobbying or receiving compensation from any firm that lobbies the General Assembly or any agency of the Executive Branch. This includes lobbying the office of the Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller or Treasurer, state agencies or state regulatory boards.

* Prohibits family members of state employees, including those of legislators, from lobbying the state (including all constitutional offices, state agencies and state regulatory boards) or from serving on state boards or commissions for which they receive compensation.

* Conflict of Interest Provision. The Governor’s plan prohibits a public official or public employee from voting or making an official decision if the official or employee (or a business or organization they or a family member is associated with) has a financial interest in the vote or decision.

* Prohibits any officer of any state campaign organization from receiving state contracts, lobbying the state (including the office of the Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller and Treasurer, state agencies or state regulatory boards) or from participating in investments involving the state.