The Republican Legislative Delegation to Illinois’ Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform held a Zoom video press conference on Monday morning demanding that Ethics Commission chairs take steps to resume meetings immediately. The four Republican lawmakers serve as commission members.
State Representative Patrick Windhorst (R-Metropolis) led off by recounting the contents of a letter he and his colleagues submitted to the co-chairs of the Ethics Commission on July 23.
“We’re now one month and one day removed from the day we sent a letter to the co-chairs of the commission asking for meetings to resume,” Windhorst said. “There is an urgent need to get these meetings back on track so we can generate a report that leads to a real cleaning up of our laws. Our state is beyond needing so-called “ethics reforms”. We need to pass a sweeping package of effective corruption reforms as soon as possible.”
State Senator Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods) says Governor Pritzker signed legislation allowing certain Illinois boards, commissions and committees to meet electronically.
“On June 12, the Governor signed into law Public Act 101-0640, which amended the Open Meetings Act to allow meetings to be held by audio or visual conference without the physical presence of a quorum of members.
“Those potential legal barriers preventing us from meeting were removed by the Governor way back in June,” said Sen. McConchie. “There is no reason why we continue to delay the people’s work on this issue, especially during a time when corruption and unethical behavior looms over Springfield.”
State Senator John Curran (R-Downers Grove) says a culture of corruption holds back progress on passing significant reforms, and questioned how other committees and commissions are able to meet safely while the Ethics Commission remains inactive.
"JCAR has been holding in-person committee hearings safely during the pandemic and other committees are meeting virtually," said State Senator John Curran. "Meanwhile, anyone watching or reading the news understands that Illinois state government is in the middle of a continuing ethical crisis. There is no reason for the ethics commission to be shut down right now, except to let corruption continue unabated."
State Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) says the need to reform Illinois’ laws to stamp out corruption is needed now more than ever.
“From a legislative standpoint, nothing is more important right now than ethics reform,” said Rep. Wehrli. “Commissions and committees are conducting their business safely, yet the Joint Commission on Ethics & Lobbying Reform remains dormant. There’s no excuse for it. How many more indictments have to hit high-level elected officials in this state before Speaker Madigan and his leadership team finally take ethics reform seriously? I guess the answer is - at least one more. Maybe then Democrat leadership will step out of the shadow cast by Speaker Madigan and finally do the right thing for Illinois. It is time to resume our work, create our report, and most importantly, pass meaningful reforms to end corruption.”