I wonder why no one seems to get any credit for the Ethics Act of 2003.
This was, I think by all accounts, a big deal.
The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform (disclosure: a former employer for a bit) has this factsheet on the many provisions of the legislation. For the first time, a lot of things that were considered business-as-usual were banned with some fairly strong enforcement mechanisms, including:
- Restricting gifts from lobbyists, state contractors, and others with a special interest in the outcome of government decisions to public officials.
- Barring inspectors from soliciting campaign contributions from the businesses or individuals they regulate.
- Creating ethics commissions for the executive and legislative branches of government to adjudicate complaints about unethical behavior.
- Designating inspectors general to investigate ethics complaints about public employees and officials.
- Mandating ethics training for all state employees and officials.
Speaker Madigan and Governor Blagojevich deserve a lot of credit for this law -- the Governor pushed very hard over the summer and fall of 2003 for a tougher ethics package. No one seems to give him any real credit for that. That really was political reform and ending some shady practices.
I know there are a litany of complaints about Blagojevich (some of them fair, some of them carping) but for a moment, I'd like to ignore all of that and just ask the question why no one -- particularly the governor -- seems to get any credit for cleaning up part of Illinois government with this substantive Ethics Act.