from the Associated Press
Monday, Nov 24, 2014
Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
Trending on the Journal

Recent Comments

help70 - Quincy School Board to discuss building project with out-of-town contractor - Quincy, IL News - Quin
Shame on the school board for even considering hiring an out of town contractor
UrKidsWillPay - No decision from Ferguson grand jury this wknd - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
#PantsUpDontLoot
Stupid_Dems - Mann not seeking re-election to Quincy City Council - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
Sure hope all the new folks promise not to suck the public teat of Health insurance and pension plan for a part time job. We taxpayers could save $20,000 for every current alderman we turn out if the new person would swear off the public nipple.
mkosin - Quincy Regional Airport makes another late season push for 10,000 departures - Quincy, IL News - Qui
Guy, I AM a travel consultant, and we don't buy tickets from airlines like that - all airline tickets are name specific. The only time we might have a block of tickets is for groups, and those have deposits and deadlines attached to them. So that would not work. I love flying out of the Quincy Airport. Jarred Hester is doing a great job there, but another airline is probably not going to come…
eaglebeaky - No decision from Ferguson grand jury this wknd - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
Just FYI... CNN, MSNBC, and several websites are reporting (Monday afternoon) that the Ferguson grand jury has reached a decision, and that an announcement will be made later on this afternoon.

Most Popular

Second arrest made in weekend sexual assault case

Man arrested for financial exploitation of the elderly

Entrup files to run for Alderman on Quincy City Council Updated

Quincy man wounded while deer hunting

Quincy School Board proposes $33.63 million tax levy

Quincy Regional Airport makes another late season push for 10,000 departures Video

Downstate mayors and fire chiefs oppose mandatory firefighter staffing bill Updated Video

Nov. TRIAD meeting this Wednesday

Investigator wants tougher legislative ethics laws

7 months, 1 week ago from the Associated Press

Suggests lawmakers adopt a congressional-style rulebook to govern

Job recommendations and university application referrals from Illinois lawmakers should be tracked and publicized after clout-related scandals at the University of Illinois and the Metra transit agency, the General Assembly's top ethics officer said Friday.

Legislative Inspector General Tom Homer also suggested that lawmakers adopt a congressional-style rulebook to govern such interventions: that recommendations deal in facts, not make suggestions of favoritism or reprisal and that legislators not work harder for a campaign contributor than for other constituents.

Homer, a former legislator and appellate court justice, released a letter with his recommendations just a week after he found no violations of law with job recommendations that House Speaker Michael Madigan and two other House Democrats made to Metra. Those surfaced last summer when an ousted CEO claimed political pressure on jobs and contracts.

"When insiders can lay claim to political spoils, the powerless and disenfranchised are denied equal opportunities," Homer wrote. "Moreover, taxpayers lose when public funds are expended for expensive legal settlements and attorneys' fees associated with scandals that arise from such activities."

Homer also pointed to a 2009 admissions brouhaha at the University of Illinois, in which well-connected applicants were admitted to the state's flagship university based on their patrons - and not always on academic qualifications. He called the once-accepted practice of political patronage an "anachronism," replaced by laws prohibiting political considerations in hiring.

Senate Assistant Majority Leader Terry Link, a Waukegan Democrat and member of the Legislative Ethics Commission, questioned whether such rules go after "the good people or the bad." None of the proposals would have prevented crimes that sent the last two governors to prison or incidents that led to the indictment of two sitting House members.

Even if a lawmaker calls to check on the status of a university application, Link said as an example, "My name will be put on a list that I called and used my influence. What influence is that, just to check on something?

"It comes to the point, you're afraid to talk to anybody, you're afraid to ask anything, you're afraid to do anything, because somebody may misconstrue it."

Another commission member, Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat and a House deputy majority leader, said he had not studied Homer's letter but also questioned whether the rules would have the desired effect.

"Everything that happens in government and everything uttered and every request made by an elected official does not automatically rise to the level of unethical," Lang said.

Senate President John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, had no comment on the proposals and was still reviewing the recommendations, spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon said.

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said the speaker would ask the Legislative Ethics Commission to review the proposals and report back. He noted that Homer, who is retiring as the General Assembly's first inspector general in June, also pointed out in his letter that appointed ethics officers for the House and Senate's four caucuses are "capable and honorable individuals."

Homer, inspector general since 2004, oversees a 1967 legislative ethics act he has complained is a "toothless tiger" with little transparency and enforcement. He used Friday's letter to repeat calls for making reports of lawmakers' violations public and prohibiting conflict-of-interest votes.

Currently, the law merely requires that a member consider abstaining from a vote that might benefit him or his family personally.


From the Newsroom

Bob Gough on Twitter

Bob Gough 6 minutes ago

@GregRexUzelac Just brutal.
Bob Gough on Twitter

Bob Gough 9 minutes ago

RT @Ben Howe: SecDef steps down with analysts citing President's foreign policy in disarray. Top story: Ferguson, Missouri Well played, @WhiteHouse.
QuincyJournal on Twitter

QuincyJournal 13 minutes ago

Bruce Guthrie named director of The District - Adams County native worked in marketing for several professional sp... http://t.co/jJ7hXg6I35
QuincyJournal on Twitter

QuincyJournal 15 minutes ago

Political party filing done for Aldermen - Two Republicans file in 7th Ward; One Republican and one Democrat file ... http://t.co/22PGJWAlpB