Monday, April 17, 2006

Now?

From a press release issued today:

Fritchey Calls for Immediate Passage of Ethics Bill

Measure would end pay-to-play system in Illinois

Chicago – In the hours following the guilty verdict in the corruption trial of former Governor George Ryan, State Representative John Fritchey (D-Chicago) is calling for the immediate passage of House Bill 4073, legislation that would significantly reduce the corrupting influence of campaign contributions on the awarding of State contracts, commonly referred to as the “pay-to-play” system. An initiative of State Comptroller Dan Hynes, Rep. Fritchey introduced the bill over a year ago with bipartisan support in both chambers of the General Assembly.

Specifically, the bill prohibits those holding contracts over $25,000 from making a political contribution to the officeholder who awarded the contract. The bill further requires, as part of the procurement process, bidders on state contracts worth more than $10,000 to disclose all campaign contributions to the officeholder awarding the contract for the prior two years. The contribution ban would be in effect for the length of the officeholder’s term or for two years past the completion of the contract, whichever is greater.

“Given our unfortunate history, we owe it to the people of the State of Illinois to take whatever steps we can to reassure them that public contracts are awarded on the basis of qualifications and not contributions,” stated Fritchey. “For too long, public outrage about ‘politics as usual’ has fallen on deaf ears. We saw today that shouts for reform are beginning to be heard in the courtroom, and it’s time for Springfield to listen as well and respond in short order.”

Fritchey is joined in his call to action by leading advocates for ethics and good government in Illinois – Cynthia Canary, Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, and Jay Stewart, Executive Director of the Better Government Association.

“The verdict in the Ryan trial sends a signal that we can no longer afford to wait,” stated Canary. “Good prosecution is no substitute for good government. It’s imperative that we take these steps immediately to begin to rebuild public trust.”

Fritchey is urging his colleagues in the General Assembly to join him in urging the immediate passage of the legislation, which has been stalled for over eighteen months.

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13 Comments:

At April 17, 2006 at 4:50 PM, Blogger Randall Sherman said...

This is a fine idea, Representative Fritchey. How do we show our support?

RANDALL SHERMAN
Secretary/Treasurer, Illinois Committee for Honest Government
Chicago

 
At April 17, 2006 at 4:58 PM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...

If it gets called for a vote, it passes, simple as that. The decision to call it has to come from on high. If I was the Governor, I would be urging that we do this before adjourning this Spring. Actually, I would have made sure that it was done a while ago. But I'm not.

 
At April 17, 2006 at 5:58 PM, Blogger Jeff Trigg said...

This would be one way to take advantage of current events and public sentiment in getting something done, like happened with the Patriot Act. I'd prefer to see immediate General Assembly investigations into Governor Blagojevich, Treasurer Topinka, Speaker Madigan, and President Jones to start with. The General Assembly should immediately be demanding employee time sheets from Topinka, Madigan, and Jones in order to see if impeachment proceedings should take place. I don't know how that works but now would also be a good time to educate us as to the powers of the General Assembly to police their own so we don't have to wait years and years for the Feds, like happens now.

 
At April 17, 2006 at 6:07 PM, Anonymous JP Lasky said...

That's right, you're not, at least not yet. Although rumor has it you've got an eye on the position. But as you said, you've been busy this session. We may not have reform, but we've got Eagle Day. Its amazing what you guys can accomplish!

 
At April 17, 2006 at 7:43 PM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...

JP,

Don't believe everything you hear. And the Eagle Day resolution was last session. I actually feel pretty good about what I've gotten done, especially in light of the bill limit this session. But that's a topic for another day.

 
At April 17, 2006 at 8:45 PM, Anonymous southernilrepub said...

It was good to see Ryan get convicted. This is hopefully the beginning of the end of the bipartisan combine in Illiois. I think the No. District needs to take a serious look at the current gov. Unfortunately neither of the gubnatorial candidates are free from scandal. It would be good for all of the caucus leaders to open up employee leaves for the past two or three election cycles.

 
At April 17, 2006 at 9:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos to you and Dan Hynes for being ahead of the curve on this issue. If only our Governor would have followed the lead. Better late than never?

 
At April 18, 2006 at 8:22 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but the Governor is on record as supporting ethics legislation. Isn't it the Speaker who decides what bills get called?

 
At April 18, 2006 at 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill,

The Governor sure seemed willing to take the quick lead on an issue (All Kids) when it fit his PR purposes. Fritchey's pay to play bill cuts into the Gov's $$ machine. That's probably why they won't move it.

 
At April 18, 2006 at 12:57 PM, Blogger Bill said...

The Gov took the lead on Allkids because he considers children's health care to be the number one priority of our state. I am sure the governor's "$$ machine" as you call it will be ok regardless of what new legislation is passed. Do you think either of Blagojevich's opponents(both real and imagined) would support this bill that would also sap their"$$ machines"? I think one would and one would not. Guess which is which.

 
At April 18, 2006 at 4:00 PM, Anonymous Reformer said...

The bill could be made effective January of next year, which would keep Judy and Rod on an even playing field. How could either one of them not support it? JBT called for it in her primary commercials, and GRod needs to do something to deal with the issue.

 
At April 18, 2006 at 4:16 PM, Anonymous Bob said...

The problem in Illinois is a lack of politicos with ethical standards and not campaign law. As far as I know, pay to play is already illegal-it is catching the culprit that is difficult. I think it is better to leave this up to the feds. I find it hard to believe the State Attorney General is going to investigate corruption of any elected official unless it is for partisan politics. Maybe I am wrong, but I can't think of any substantial investigation into public corruption brought about by local law enforcement. i.e. state or county etc. Better leave fighting corruption to the feds and try to get the state budget balanced.

 
At April 20, 2006 at 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not pay elected officials similar salaries as to what top executives in the private sector are paid? If you are in charge of Illinois' $53 billion budget like the Governor and legislature and made a similar salary to those running $53 billion dollar companies (a) it would attract much better people for the jobs and (b) would, by using market forces, end most temptations to engage in pay to play because (1) you would have a lot more to lose salary-wise and (2) most likely wouldn't need the money. Instead, we chose to pay college coaches, school superintendents and others much higher salaries but expect better behavior from the legislature and the Governor. Let's take away the financial hardship to doing what's way beyond a full time job and let the market, rather than additional regulation, end the corruption.

If we simply paid the Governor 75% of the salary of the highest paid public university collge coach and each legislator should get 50% of the coach's salary - that would be sufficient to mark the salaries to the current market. We'd also get better football coaches at the U of I....

 

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