Rep. Mazzochi Demands Action on Springfield Corruption

In the wake of multiple federal
indictments of elected officials in both Springfield and Chicago, State
Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) joined other Republican Caucus
members to demand that the Illinois General Assembly use the remaining days of
their veto session to enact much needed ethical reforms.

“Illinois government has been the
poster child for pay to play politics for decades.  We’ve had governors go to jail; and our
current governor still remains under federal investigation.  People are tired of a system where taxpayers
don’t count, but insiders do.  It’s even
worse when those insiders exploit their office for their own personal
gain.” 

At a press conference this morning,
Mazzochi and other lawmakers announced their intention to push a sweeping
reform package during the final week of veto session to address unethical
practices brought to light by ongoing federal investigations.  “The recent spate of indictments shows clear
loopholes and low hanging fruit that we can get done this week.  But that is just the beginning; we also need
to take a stand; say enough is enough; and start the process of rethinking our
system so we can clean house from top to bottom,” Mazzochi explained.

State Representative Luis Arroyo
(D-Chicago) recently resigned after he was arrested and charged with bribery of
a state official. Rep. Arroyo is the third state legislator to come under the
federal microscope this year. Earlier this year State Senator Tom Cullerton
(D-Villa Park) was indicted on 45 counts of embezzlement and State Senator
Martin Sandoval (D-Cicero) was revealed to be under investigation in a wide
ranging federal corruption probe.  Further,
recently-indicted Chicago Alderman Ed Burke is married to Illinois’ Supreme
Court Chief Justice.  Governor J.B.
Pritzker has been reported to be under investigation in connection with a
$330,000 property tax scheme involving an Astor Place residence in Chicago.

“The resignation of one lawmaker
does not address the cultural rot in Springfield,” Rep. Mazzochi said. “It is
ridiculous that Rep. Arroyo apparently expected to lead the committee to
appoint his replacement.  It remains to
be seen whether Speaker Madigan’s efforts to intervene in the process will lead
to someone dedicated to real reform, or just another go along get along
legislator.  But it is clear that there
are serious lapses in Illinois’ ethics laws. If we are to have any shot at
earning public trust back, we need to take a stand and say enough is enough.”

Rep. Mazzochi continued, “There’s
absolutely no reason why these bills can’t be considered by the House this
week. But our caucus can talk about reform until we’re blue in the face; but unless
and until House Democrats join us in this effort, our proposals are dead in the
water. If this body has any integrity left, lawmakers need to show the people
we represent that we are taking this seriously and that we are prepared to
act.”

State lawmakers are scheduled to be in Springfield through
Thursday. Once they adjourn on Thursday, they will not be back in Springfield
until the new year. 

The ethics package includes:

  • House Bill 3954 that will revise statement of economic interests to include more details similar to the information required for judicial statement of economic interest forms. This forces full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and provides greater transparency for members of the General Assembly. 
  • HJRCA 36 will require a special election to fill General Assembly vacancies through the same laws governing our party primaries. This will prevent political powerbrokers from picking their preferred candidates for the vacancies. 
  • House Resolution 588 will allow a Chief Co-Sponsor of any bill with five co-sponsors from each party to call it for an up or down vote in a substantive committee.
  • House Bill 3947 would ban members of the General Assembly, their spouses, and immediate live-in family members from performing paid lobbying work with local government units. Currently, members of the Illinois General Assembly – state representatives and state senators – are prohibited from lobbying the State of Illinois, but are not prohibited from lobbying local government units, such as a counties or municipalities.
  • House Bill 3955 will create mandatory and publicly available documentation of General Assembly communications with any state agency regarding contracts. 

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