Targeting campaign fund corruption between lobbyists and state legislators, State Sen. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) has sponsored legislation to prohibit lobbyists with political campaign accounts from donating to members from that account.
“Senate Bill 128 is a measure to prevent retired legislators-turned-lobbyists—and new lobbyists involved with a PAC—from misusing their campaign funds to benefit their lobbying career,” said Tracy. “It is a good government bill that prevents the corrupt flow of campaign money in the State Capitol, and I hope my Senate colleagues will join me in implementing this responsible lobbying regulation.”
The concerning oversight in the lobbying ethics policy was brought to the Senator’s attention by members of the public who inquired about former legislators’ use of campaign funds. Under current law, there are no regulations to prevent newly registered lobbyists who have access to a campaign account from donating campaign funds to members of the Illinois General Assembly. Senate Bill 128 would specify that donations to members from campaign accounts are strictly prohibited and will remain forbidden for two years after the individual's lobbyist registration expires.
“While I am not aware of any lobbyists engaging in this activity, I was surprised to uncover there is a loophole allowing for it,” said Tracy. “Campaign contributions exist to support the candidate’s run for office, and this is purely a preventative and precautionary measure to ensure those contributions are not abused.”
Senate Bill 128 is currently awaiting a Senate Committee assignment. For more commentary from Tracy on the legislation, listen to her recent podcast interview at the Capitol here.