(The Center Square) – After a string of indictments on a variety of alleged corruption against former state lawmakers and officials, ethics reforms have been slow to be adopted at the Illinois statehouse. Some hope to get reforms across the finish line before the end of the session.
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors indicted former clerk of the House and former House Speaker Michael Madigan Chief of Staff Tim Mapes for lying to a grand jury. That’s the latest in a slew of federal indictments over the past year in the federal ComEd bribery probe.
There are other instances of alleged corruption federal prosecutors have charged over the past two years.
Senate Bill 4 is expected to be the vehicle for an omnibus ethics reform package. The deadline for passage out of the originating chamber has been extended four times.
Chief sponsor, state Sen. Ann Gillespie, D-Arlington Heights, has on multiple occasions declined to comment on the status of the bill.
State Sen. John Curran, R-Lemont, said he hopes to include some Republican ideas into the bill.
“We want enhancements with independence for the Legislative Inspector General,” Curran said. “We want a more clearly defined revolving door provision that is going to actually put legislators on the sideline for a definite period of time before they may begin any sort of lobbying activities as former legislators.”
Another Curran proposal is to give the Illinois Attorney General more authority to investigate public corruption, a measure Attorney General Kwame Raoul said Thursday he supports.
“I’ve spoken to Senator Curran and I’ve let him know that I’m supportive of our office having that grand jury authority,” Raoul said Thursday.
Curran’s proposal goes further to give county-level state attorneys the ability to get judicial approval for wiretaps in public corruption cases.
“We want to get out of the cycle of always waiting for the federal authorities to police public corruption in this state,” Curran said.
Ultimately, Raoul said public officials need to look in the mirror in their work for the people.
“And it can’t be about self-gain and it can’t be about unreasonably trading favors,” Raoul said.
Curran anticipates movement on the bill out of the Senate and to the House before the May 31 deadline to pass bills with simple majorities. They continue work through the Memorial Day holiday weekend.