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.