Saturday, February 26, 2005

Good move by Dan Hynes, Lisa Madigan, Jesse White and Judy Baar Topinka

Dan Hynes' office has pulled together all the other constitutional officers (leaving out, for some reason, Pat Quinn) in backing a prohibition on state contractors making contributions to political camapigns. He held a stand-up press conference on Friday, with John Fritchey, Miguel Del Valle and Bill Black (and probably others not mentioned in press accounts.)

Hynes also issued an Executive Order implementing the policy in the Comptroller's Office.

And this is how government is supposed to run. One of the big complaints of Governor Blagojevich is that he has raised so much money from, primarily, state contractors who then profit from state business. And that's parasitic.

All the electeds emphasized that they aren't holding a press conference to target Blagojevich, since the governor does deserve credit for the 2003 ethics bill getting significantly strengthened over the summer and into veto session after President Jones in May of 2003 weakened the bill, but has in the last two years looked more like the same-old, same-old kind of pay-to-play governor from all the millions he has raised from contractors. Maybe it isn't fair that someone looks dirty without breaking any laws, since it isn't illegal to raise 50 grand from a lawyer and then hire that lawyer in a no-bid contract, but it sure looks bad. It's that type of stuff that makes people believe that government isn't an efficient or trustworthy institution, and as progressives, we really can't tolerate that perception or any actions that perpetuate that perception.

So this is a great move for the future of Illinois government. Unfortunately, the bills have not yet been filed. Senator Del Valle's bill from the early part of the session, SB 39, has not been released from the Rules Committee. Just about every other bill has, so that's not a good sign. President Jones has been more of an obstacle than a leader on campaign finance reform. Hopefully that will change this year.

Oh, one more thing. This means that more regular people should send in small checks to the electeds that we think are doing the right thing. If you haven't sent in a $25 or $50 check to a good elected this month, what are you waiting for? I'm sure every single one of them -- every single elected official -- would rather fund their campaigns with tens of thousands of small checks than a few big checks. But not enough of us send in small checks. So do it! Sometimes they appreciate the $35 check from someone who just likes what they are doing more than a $1000 check from a PAC or a group that will be looking for something in return. These guys are really under-appreciated. Send in some money.


Phocion said...

Good post Dan. Keep up the good work.

Phocion said...

Good post Dan. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Good post Dan. Keep up the good work.

BMc said...

Just to set the record straight here...

Pat Quinn has a 30-year record on campaign finance & ethics reform: in short, he supports it. Had he been notified of the Friday morning press event in advance of Thursday night at 5pm, you can bet he'd have been there (or he would have issued a release of his own).

So please do not read into his absence.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

I know Pat's a reformer. That's why it was odd he wasn't included. I hope (and suspect) that it was probably typical last-minute, under-deadline staffers trying to get the word out that excluded Quinn rather than sharp elbows or an intentional snub from Hynes' office.

BMc said...

Right - the press conference was last-minute, and in the end, Quinn couldn't make it.

Hynes' legislative proposal (which is still being written) is a great start, but shouldn't we be aiming for something more comprehensive? For example, did you know his proposal does not apply to candidates for political office?