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Ethics

  • Senator MorrisonSPRINGFIELD – Following a wave of corruption and indictments among state officials, Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) is calling on lawmakers to pass a comprehensive ethics package, including restrictions on revolving door lobbying, updates to the statement of economic interest forms and new provisions regarding conflict of interest.

    “People should not be allowed to be a lawmaker one day and a lobbyist the next,” Morrison said. “Stopping lawmakers from auditioning for jobs with special interests while still in office will help end the glaring corruption taking place in Springfield.”

    Since joining the Illinois Senate in 2013, Morrison has introduced bills each session to block the lawmaker-to-lobbyist revolving door. Those measures would prohibit lawmakers who resign from their post from taking jobs as Illinois lobbyists for a certain amount of time after they retire. However, they never made it through the legislature.

    “I have tried to pass comprehensive revolving door policies for years, but it wasn’t seen as a high priority by all members of the General Assembly, despite the corruption happening around them,” Morrison said. “I am pleased Gov. JB Pritzker called on legislators to pass a revolving door provision during his State of the State address Wednesday.”

    Morrison is a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 2463, which prohibits statewide elective officials, members of the General Assembly and administrative heads of state agencies from lobbying within two years of termination of service.

    “A majority of states already have an anti-revolving door policy, and it’s time for Illinois to get with the times,” Morrison said. “There must be a fine line between who is a government official and who works for a special interest group.”

    Illinois is just one of 13 states that does not have a revolving door policy.

    During the legislative session, Morrison is lead sponsor of two other ethics-related bills – Senate Bill 2506 and Senate Bill 1827.

    Senate Bill 1827 would create changes to the statement of economic interest form that must be completed by a number of state employees, candidates running for office and public officials to ensure they do not have financial ties to subjects they are working on.

    Additionally, SB 2506 requires members of the General Assembly to disclose if they have conflicts of interest on measures they are taking official action on – which includes voting for a bill.

  • Senator Bertino-TarrantSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) was thrilled to hear Gov. JB Pritzker’s plans to increase investments in the state’s education system during the State of the State address on Wednesday.

    “The most important investment we can make is in our children’s education,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Increasing investments in child care and early childhood education will ensure that we are providing the best resources to help train the future leaders of our great state.”

  • castro ethics 101520CHICAGO – The Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform met to discuss lobbying regulation Wednesday.

    “I’m fed up with it, and I know the people of Illinois are fed up with it too,” said State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin). “It’s time we get to the bottom of the issue, figure out the root cause, and solve it once and for all in a way that prevents us from having to do yet another joint ethics commission a few years down the road.”

    At Wednesday’s meeting, the commission focused on lobbying and lobbying reform. Representatives from the city of Chicago, the secretary of state, the Illinois Municipal League, and several other organizations were present to answer questions and provide insight.

    “It’s clear that something needs to be done, but it can’t be one sided,” Castro said. “Whatever reforms come out of this commission will affect everyone, so we need to be sure that nobody faces undue burdens as a result.”

    Castro sponsored the resolution to form the joint ethics commission last year, and was later appointed to sit on it. The commission has several additional meetings scheduled in the coming months and must file a report of its findings by March 31.

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  • sims 112119CHICAGO—To respond to recent allegations involving Springfield lawmakers and prevent future wrongdoing, State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. has been named as the co-chair of a new joint legislative commission that will recommend changes to state ethics laws. Senator Cristina Castro has also been appointed to the commission.

    “The last several months have seen very troubling developments and the people of Illinois expect us to be and do better,” Sims said. “For the people to have faith in their government we must hold ourselves to the highest of standards, and when public officials do wrong, they should face the consequences. Those are the beliefs that will guide me as I serve on this commission.”

     

  • scales ethics 111419SPRINGFIELD – A 16-member ethics commission will be formed after a resolution sponsored by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) passed the Senate this week.

    “Legislators and lobbyists absolutely must be held to high standards,” Castro said. “No one should be able to profit from their public service.”

    House Joint Resolution 93 creates the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying. The commission will be comprised of 16 members appointed by the Senate president, the Senate minority leader, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the House minority leader, the governor, the secretary of state and the attorney general.

  • morrison 111219SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to provide more transparency among elected officials, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) filed a measure that would require lawmakers to state if they have a conflict of interest on a bill.

    “This is simply about honesty and transparency,” Senator Morrison said. “The people of Illinois deserve to know lawmakers are best serving voters and the community — not themselves.” 

    Senate Bill 2299, which will be read into the record Tuesday, would require a member of the General Assembly to disclose if they have a conflict of interest on a measure they are taking official action on – which includes voting for a bill. If the legislator does have a conflict of interest, they would be responsible for filing a written statement declaring the conflict or stating their conflict during floor debate.

  • Sen. Terry LinkSPRINGFIELD – Assistant Majority Leader Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) led the Senate today in approving Carol M. Pope as new Legislative Inspector General, a post responsible for investigating complaints made against lawmakers and legislative employees.

    “Judge Carol Pope has all of the necessary experience and background to be an excellent Legislative Inspector General,” Link said. “It is vitally important that allegations of misconduct are investigated and properly handled. I have the upmost trust that Judge Pope will live up to those expectations.”

    Judge Pope was recommended unanimously by the Illinois Legislative Ethics Commission in December to fill the post full time after Julie Porter was appointed to serve as temporary inspector general until a permanent appointment was made.

  • hastings 0418 prefSPRINGFIELD – With many troubling questions surrounding its governing board, the Illinois Tollway will get a much-needed ethical makeover thanks to the support of State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park).

    Hastings last week helped push through the Illinois General Assembly important legislation that would restore accountability and integrity at the Illinois Toll Highway Authority. Media reports have chronicled multiple examples of jobs and contracts being awarded to unqualified political insiders and well-connected businesses through non-competitively bid processes.

    Hastings supported Senate Bill 1298, which ends the terms of the currently appointed members of the Tollway Board and requires the Governor to appoint new Board members by Feb. 28, 2019. The legislation also requires the Tollway Board’s by-laws to direct members to avoid potential conflicts of interest and requires these by-laws to be posted to the Tollway Authority’s website.

    “The time to restore accountability and integrity to the Illinois Tollway is long overdue,” said Hastings. “The Illinois Tollway Authority needs to start putting the needs of the working people of Illinois ahead of political insiders and corrupt special interest groups.”

    Hastings said he will continue his work to reform state government and restore faith in its ability to move Illinois forward.

    “As we start the 101st General Assembly, it’s important to me to continue to take a closer look at aspects of state government that are in dire need of reform,” he said. “I look forward to working with Gov. Pritzker and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure government is working for the people of Illinois.”

    The bipartisan reform passed without opposition in the House and Senate and awaits the Governor’s signature.

  • castro 010919SPRINGFIELD – Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) voted Wednesday to hit the reset button on the Illinois Toll Highway Authority Board and give the next governor the chance to increase transparency and ethics. 

    “The hiring and spending at the tollway has been disturbing. It was time to fumigate the board and start over,” Castro said.

    Multiple investigations done by the Daily Herald found that there was likely unethical behavior going on within the Illinois Toll Highway Authority involving political favoritism regarding its hiring practices and contracts.

  • The Majority Report - June 8, 2018 - State budget winners: Schools, universities, local government


  • castro 092017SPRINGFIELD – Needless bureaucratic hurdles are slowing ethics investigations and need to be removed, state Senator Cristina Castro said in filing legislation to streamline the process.

    “We have a skilled investigator on the job. We need to empower her to do that job and deliver results quickly,” said Castro, an Elgin Democrat and the newest member of the Legislative Ethics Commission.

    Here’s the problem with the current system.

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    With reports about sexual harassment and other complaints going uninvestigated, the Legislate Ethics Commission held an emergency meeting Saturday to appoint a legislative inspector general to the post that was vacant for two years. Former U.S. Attorney Julie Porter was appointed to begin the process of investigating complaints and ethics violations in the legislature.

    Porter is well known for her work trying complex cases as the corruption case that led to the conviction of Illinois powerbroker Bill Cellini and top Mayor Richard Daley’s top aide Robert Sorich, among others.  Porter worked at the U.S. Attorney’s office for 12 years and was appointed chief of the office’s criminal division before leaving to join a private practice in Chicago.

    Elgin Democratic Senator Cristina Castro iss the newest member of the Legislative Ethics Commission as of Friday, November 3. Castro said she intends to push the agency to be more timely and responsive in its handling of complaints.

    “I want to make it clear that I intend to help drive a culture of swiftness in the actions of the Commission. When there are accusations of wrongdoing, I intend to be thoughtful and fair – but the Commission should make every effort to act in a timely manner,” said Illinois State Sen. Cristina Castro, a Democrat from Elgin.

    Castro, a former marketing and communications manager in the private and public sector, was first elected to the Illinois Senate last year. She now serves as a full-time legislator for the 22nd State Senate District.

    Castro said her first priority is filling a vacant inspector general post so complaints that have lingered can be investigated and adjudicated.

    “It’s unacceptable to have complaints sit as long as they have. That’s going to change,” Castro said.

    The eight-member commission is charged with ruling on findings of ethical misconduct within the legislative branch and its employees. The commission was created in December 2003 by the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act.

    For more information about the commission, visit its website.

    Senator Castro released the following statement in response to Julie B. Porter’s appointment to Inspector General of the commission:

    “Julie Porter has a proven record of fighting public corruption as the Assistant United States Attorney,” Castro said. “She has extensive experience seeking justice for the people of Illinois. I look forward to seeing her get to work as our new Inspector General.  I’m confident she will work swiftly and thoroughly to investigate and resolve all outstanding complaints.”

    Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), Chairman of the ethics commission, released the following statement on the selection of former Assistant United States Attorney Julie B. Porter as the new Legislative Inspector General:

    “Julie Porter is a skilled attorney who has experience trying public corruption and fraud cases. I look forward to working with Ms. Porter to quickly get the Ethics Commission back on track, address the complaints that exist and move forward.”

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  • morrison ethics 030116SPRINGFIELD – Two proposals that would increase the level of accountability among Illinois lawmakers were recently introduced by State Senator Julie Morrison (D - Deerfield).

    Senate Bill 3107 would require state legislators to publicly disclose potential conflicts of interest before casting a vote on any legislation. While some lawmakers currently make conflict of interest disclosures public, the practice is not required under state law.

    “The public has a right to know when lawmakers have a conflict of interest,” Morrison said.