Sen. Ann Gillespie

SPRINGFIELD – To end the culture of corruption and increase transparency in government, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) passed a sweeping ethics package in the Illinois Senate today.

“This legislation takes the first steps in addressing some of the most egregious scandals in our state’s history,” Gillespie said. “It offers bipartisan solutions to reestablish public trust in our institutions and is the result of several conversations in our legislative working group on ethics.”

The legislation would make several ethics reforms including prohibiting elected officials from lobbying other units of government, establishing a six-month revolving door ban, prohibiting all political fundraisers during legislative session, prohibiting salaried appointees from serving as an officer for a political committee and pro-rating the salaries of General Assembly members who leave office prior to the end of their term.

The measure would also strengthen the Statement of Economic Interest, a document that declares the assets that a candidate holds and how they may be a conflict of interest; allow the Legislative Inspector General to open an investigation without the approval of the General Assembly; create a statewide lobbyist database; and close the Consultant Loophole which allows lobbyists to avoid disclosure.

“While it won’t end corruption overnight, it closes many of the loopholes that have allowed bad actors to game the system for decades,” Gillespie said. “I believe that this bill is a real opportunity to make meaningful change and offers specific solutions to the recent scandals that we’ve seen under the dome.”

Senate Bill 539 passed the Illinois Senate with unanimous and awaits the governor’s signature.