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Letters to the Editor

Time to take another look at Illinois' Code of Ethics

To the editor:

It’s a good idea to regularly pull our state’s Code of Ethics from the shelf, dust it off and take a closer look. There is always room for improvement. But the timing on the most recent package of ethics reforms released Aug. 13 by the Senate Democrat Caucus is, shall we say, ironic.

Consider these facts:

Within the last year, four Democrat legislators have been indicted on charges ranging from bribery to ghost payrolling and federal tax evasion. Commonwealth Edison has been charged with, and admitted to, a bribery scheme aimed at exerting influence over House Speaker Michael Madigan. Federal prosecutors have issued multiple grand jury subpoenas aimed at Madigan, including one to the Speaker’s Office.

What makes it even more ironic is how long Democrat legislative leaders have stalled on addressing the root causes of this corruption. In the 101st General Assembly alone, Senate Republican lawmakers filed numerous bills targeting corruption, but Democrat leaders refused to consider our proposals.

Yet suddenly, mere weeks after the media headlines are filled with reports of ethics charges against Democrat lawmakers, and here comes a package of ethics reforms from Democrat Senators, many of them with themes similar to initiatives Republican Senators have proposed but Democrat Senators would not support.

The timing is suspect, as is the fact that the debate and vote on the Senate Democrat ethics reform package is set for Veto Session, two weeks after the general election!

Action on an issue this important should not wait. It’s time for a special legislative session, where we take a closer look at everyone’s ideas about ethics reforms – Republican and Democrat – not just the ones so conveniently debuted just a week ago.

Jim Oberweis

Illinois State Senator, 25th District

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