May 16, 2005

Blago's blockbuster ethics/campaign finance proposal

Governor Blagojevich recently issued his proposals for reforming campaign finance laws and ethical guidelines for elected officials, their families, PACS, lobbyists, those with business with the state, and contributors.

"The Decatur Democrat", is a great blog run by an anonymous blogger who goes by, oddly enough, "The Decatur Democrat." He focuses primarily on central Illinois political goings on, and has meticulously laid out the components of Gov. Rod's proposal.

They sound very strong, reasonable, and very desirable, at least from a citizen's point of view. They're likely to make politicians and bag men everywhere break out in hives. I see no downside to any of them, unless of course you're a pol or someone who buys or sells access and/or influence.

What are the chances they get enacted without them being re-jiggered to the point that the originals are unrecognizable?

Here are a few, but go read the rest within his post. It's generating tons of comments, as one might expect.

* Prohibits family members of state employees, including those of legislators, from lobbying the state (including all constitutional offices, state agencies and state regulatory boards) or from serving on state boards or commissions for which they receive compensation.

* Conflict of Interest Provision. The Governor’s plan prohibits a public official or public employee from voting or making an official decision if the official or employee (or a business or organization they or a family member is associated with) has a financial interest in the vote or decision.

* Prohibits any officer of any state campaign organization from receiving state contracts, lobbying the state (including the office of the Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller and Treasurer, state agencies or state regulatory boards) or from participating in investments involving the state.

* Completely prohibits contributions from corporations and unions. This would be Illinois’ first limitation on contributions from any corporate entity.

* Limits individuals to contributions of $2,000 per candidate per election. This would be the first limit ever placed on donations to candidates by individuals in Illinois.

* Limits Political Action Committees (PACs) to contributions of $5,000 per candidate per election. This is the first limit ever placed on donations to candidates from Political Action Committees (PACs) in Illinois.

* Limits state party contributions to $5,000 per candidate per election.

* Limits contributions to state parties and PACs to $5,000 a year from individuals or other PACs.

* Prohibits an individual from contributing more than $40,000 in total contributions to all candidates, party committees and PACs in any election cycle.

* Requires Disclosure of Lobby Contracts and Improved Lobbyist Regulations. Current law requires lobbyists to list their clients and gifts on public disclosure forms. The Governor’s plan requires lobbyists to disclose the terms of their contracts, including fees and exactly who they lobby.

* Closes the Revolving Door between Public Officials and Lobbying Firms. Current law places a one-year prohibition on former state employees working for companies they regulated or to which they awarded contracts. The Governor calls for extending the law by requiring a one-year prohibition on all former legislators and state employees lobbying.

Read the rest at Decatur Democrat.


At 5/16/2005 10:59 PM, Blogger sailingtowindward said...

Three cheers for Governor Rod Blagojevich!

His new plan is full of great ideas and initiatives, some of which will never pass because they're too progressive and reform-oriented.

But a big high-five to the Governor for trying.

At 5/17/2005 2:03 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I think Rod's proposals are bitchin'.

It would truly be a great day for democracy if they were enacted as is, lock, stock, and barrel.

I can't imagine how anyone interested even slightly in good government could oppose them, especially in light of the fact that they are in theory supposed to be applied across the board, equally to all parties.

I realize they're just too sane, resonable, and absolutely needed to be actually enacted I suppose, but you state they won't be enacted because they're "too reform-minded" and "too progressive".
That begs the question, for whom, and why??? Those are two big questions whose answers would certainly be interesting.

They're certainly not too reform-minded or progressive to the voters of Illinois, who would likely vote for them overwhelmingly if it were put to a referendum. (Hell, it's a shame Blago can't bypass the lege and do it that way.)


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