Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pay to Play Gets its Day


Just a few years ago, getting a bill like this called for a vote would have been an impossibility. Funny what a few years of headlines and scandal can do to help move reform forward in our state. The following is a press release sent out by Comptroller Dan Hynes.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- “This is the beginning of the end for play-to-play politics in Illinois,” Comptroller Dan Hynes said today, after the Illinois House of Representatives approved an ethics reform bill that will reduce the corrupting influence of campaign contributions on the awarding of state contracts.

House Bill 1, drafted by Hynes and sponsored by Rep. John Fritchey, D-Chicago, prohibits business owners with more than $25,000 in state contracts from making campaign contributions to officeholders awarding those contracts, requires contractors to disclose previous contributions and prevents individuals with conflicts of interest from receiving fees from state bond sales.

“The House sent a very clear message today that Illinois government is not for sale and business-as-usual will not be tolerated,” Hynes said. “These reforms will act as a strong deterrent to backroom deals and quid pro quo governance. It is my hope that they will also help restore public faith in government.”

Fritchey said passage of the bill would allow the Legislature to focus on other important issues. “For too long, headlines have been dominated by corruption and pay-to-play politics, rather than key issues such as education funding reform, property taxes, and affordable health care. This legislation will not only put an end to this practice which has no place in state government, but will allow us to focus upon issues that are important to the people of Illinois.”

Cindi Canary, Director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, called on the Illinois Senate to follow suit and pass House Bill 1. “The House, by this solid vote, has recognized the concerns of Illinois voters and has stood up and done the right thing. It is now squarely in the hands of the Senate to respond in kind.”

Jay Stewart, Executive Director of the Better Government Association, applauded House passage of the reform bill. “This will help establish a separation between campaign contributions and lucrative state contracts. Given the contracting scandals that have beset the State of Illinois in recent years, the reform is long overdue.”

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8 Comments:

At April 25, 2007 at 6:26 PM, Anonymous DuPage Saint said...

So I guess I will get my brother-in-law to make the donation or I will donate to the office holder/candidate of your choice. Where there is a will there is a way

 
At April 25, 2007 at 6:34 PM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...

If somebody is determined to break the law, odds are they can find a way to do it. But I am confident that if this bill does become law, it will have a dramatic impact on reducing the ties between contracts and contributors.

All I can do is try :)

 
At April 25, 2007 at 7:28 PM, Anonymous Patrick McDonough said...

Thank you for getting the ball rolling. You have a long road ahead. Unless all elected officials stop the payoffs nothing will ever change. I hope Franks runs for Illinois Governor, that might make a dent. Patrick McDonough

 
At April 25, 2007 at 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ds - i have to echo the rep's comments on this one. people are going to go 70 in a 40 zone if they want to, but you still need to set a speed limit.

 
At April 25, 2007 at 7:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dramatic Impact? Rep., you're from Chicago-don't you think that overstates the case just a bit? This state has a long history of the kind of "family ties" that DS mentioned. Well, I don't have to tell you.

 
At April 25, 2007 at 10:00 PM, Blogger Extreme Wisdom said...

prohibits business owners with more than $25,000 in state contracts from making campaign contributions to officeholders awarding those contracts, requires contractors to disclose previous contributions and prevents individuals with conflicts of interest from receiving fees from state bond sales.

Every Local Chapter of every teachers union is in violation of this principal, as is any board member of any district that has a relative in ANY other district.

This is a drop in the Ocean, Hon. John. The entire school code is a legalized "pay to play" scheme, and it's total tax take dwarfs any "business" contract in the state.

Nice as it all is, I'll take you seriously when you classify "Ed-Mart - always the high price, always" as the rapcious and corrupt business that it is.

Until then, this is window dressing.

BTW, Are the Illinois Energy Consortium, Kensa, Jersey County Building Contractors and the other schemes/entities that enrich retired former Superintendents at taxpayer expense considered "businesses" or are they exempted?

Until they are all brought under the same scrutiny of those evil, evil businesses, how can any of this be taken seriously?

 
At April 26, 2007 at 5:54 PM, Blogger Levois said...

Step one in tackling a lot of things that are wrong with Illinois. And this is one good step too.

 
At April 26, 2007 at 7:17 PM, Blogger Extreme Wisdom said...

A correction. I met with the principal of one of these consortia today - Kensa - and they appear to be a reputable organization that actually does good work for a very reasonable fee.

The same cannot be said of the IEC, which appears to be a legalized, Enronesque, money laundering scheme.

 

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