June 5, 2019 •

Illinois General Assembly Spring Session Adjourns

Photo via Good Free Photos

The 101st General Assembly adjourned its spring session on Sunday, June 2 after going into overtime to address Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s agenda. During the spring session, Senate Bill 1545 was introduced to prohibit a legislator from lobbying local government during […]

The 101st General Assembly adjourned its spring session on Sunday, June 2 after going into overtime to address Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s agenda.

During the spring session, Senate Bill 1545 was introduced to prohibit a legislator from lobbying local government during his or her term of office.

The bill provided that a violation would constitute a Class A misdemeanor. The bill made its way to the Assignments Committee on March 22.

Similarly, Senate Bill 180 was introduced to prohibit a legislator from seeking future employment with a lobbying entity if that entity engages in lobbying with members of the General Assembly during the legislator’s term of office.

Senate Bill 180 would also ban state officials for a period of one year of their term of office from engaging in compensated lobbying with members of the General Assembly.

The bill made its way to the Assignments Committee on March 22.

The General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene for a veto session in October.

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April 26, 2019 •

Chicago Releases New Lobbyist Ethics Training

The city of Chicago’s lobbyist ethics training for 2018-2019 is now available. The deadline to complete the mandatory training is before 11:59 p.m. on Monday, July 1. The ethics training course is available at the Chicago Board of Elections website.

The city of Chicago’s lobbyist ethics training for 2018-2019 is now available.

The deadline to complete the mandatory training is before 11:59 p.m. on Monday, July 1.

The ethics training course is available at the Chicago Board of Elections website.

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March 5, 2019 •

Chicago Revises Lobbyist Ethics Training

The city of Chicago is currently revising its mandatory lobbyist ethics training course for 2018-2019. Program Director Edward Primer of the Chicago Board of Ethics said he anticipates the training will be available in mid-March. A notice will be sent […]

The city of Chicago is currently revising its mandatory lobbyist ethics training course for 2018-2019.

Program Director Edward Primer of the Chicago Board of Ethics said he anticipates the training will be available in mid-March.

A notice will be sent to all registered lobbyists when the training becomes available.

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February 27, 2019 •

Illinois Introduces Bill to Create Contribution Matching Fund

Illinois introduced legislation to create a small donor campaign contribution matching fund for candidates for certain offices, including governor, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State. House Bill 3712 introduced by Rep. Kelly M. Cassidy would require the General Assembly to […]

Illinois introduced legislation to create a small donor campaign contribution matching fund for candidates for certain offices, including governor, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State.

House Bill 3712 introduced by Rep. Kelly M. Cassidy would require the General Assembly to appropriate no more than $50 million to the small donor matching fund in any election cycle.

The bill also establishes penalties for violations by participating candidates in the form of a fine in an amount equal to twice the value of the funding unlawfully accepted or spent.

If passed, the bill would become effective immediately.

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January 22, 2019 •

Firm Sues in Federal Court After Violating Illinois Pay-to-Play Law

A Chicago-based real estate firm is challenging Illinois pay-to-play law in federal court as unconstitutional after losing a contract when its founder made contributions to gubernatorial candidates. Plaintiffs, The Habitat Company and its founder Daniel Levin, lost a one-year management […]

A Chicago-based real estate firm is challenging Illinois pay-to-play law in federal court as unconstitutional after losing a contract when its founder made contributions to gubernatorial candidates.

Plaintiffs, The Habitat Company and its founder Daniel Levin, lost a one-year management contract for a mixed-income building after Chief Procurement Officer Ellen Daley of the Illinois Procurement Office notified the firm that Levin’s campaign contributions to gubernatorial candidates in 2018 violated the state procurement code.

In Illinois, pay-to-play law prohibits government contractors or affiliated persons from making any contribution to a political committee established to promote the candidacy of the officeholder responsible for awarding the contracts.

The complaint alleges constitutional violations of Levin’s First Amendment rights of speech and association and Fourteenth Amendment rights of equal protection and due process of law.

Plaintiffs seek a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to void Daley’s decision and prevent the Illinois Housing Development Authority from entering into a property management contract with another company.

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January 9, 2019 •

Illinois House Rep. Lou Lang Resigns

State Rep. Lou Lang announced his resignation from the 16th District after 32 years in the Illinois House of Representatives. Lang was formerly second-in-command to House Speaker Mike Madigan. Lang has been hired by a consulting and lobbying firm registered […]

State Rep. Lou Lang announced his resignation from the 16th District after 32 years in the Illinois House of Representatives.

Lang was formerly second-in-command to House Speaker Mike Madigan.

Lang has been hired by a consulting and lobbying firm registered with the state.

Because the state rarely contracts directly with lobbying firms, Lang’s lobbying work does not overstep the state’s revolving door provision.

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November 7, 2018 •

J.B. Pritzker Defeats Incumbent Bruce Rauner to Take Illinois’ Governor Race

Billionaire Democrat J.B. Pritzker defeated first-term Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, by a margin of 54 percent to 39.3 percent. Less than an hour after polls closed, Rauner conceded his re-election bid, giving Democrats near total control of Illinois’ state government. […]

Billionaire Democrat J.B. Pritzker defeated first-term Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, by a margin of 54 percent to 39.3 percent. Less than an hour after polls closed, Rauner conceded his re-election bid, giving Democrats near total control of Illinois’ state government.

“Voting is an act of optimism that the levers of our Democracy still work,” Pritzker told supporters moments after declaring victory. “You embody that optimism. You light the beacon fire on the hill of history that signals from one generation to another that these are the things that we stand and fight for.”

In addressing the exuberant crowd, he reminded them that the first McDonald’s opened here and the ice cream sundae was born here, as well.

“We taught the nation how to debate, how to shuffle to the Super Bowl and how to eat a pizza,” he said.

According to U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, “Pritzker did something different in this campaign,” Durbin said. “Here was a Chicagoan, clearly a Chicagoan, who wasted no time getting Downstate. I looked around and thought, ‘This is what I’ve been looking for — a governor who starts off by unifying the whole state.’”

In his concession speech, Rauner stated, “This is a time for us to come together.  This is a time for us to unite. To Mr. Pritzker, I said, Godspeed.  I hope and pray you serve Illinois well.”

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September 27, 2018 •

IL Court Upholds Cook County Campaign Restrictions

The Illinois First District Appellate Court upheld Cook County’s ethics ordinance restricting political contributions from persons seeking official action from the county. Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios challenged the rule earlier this year after the County Board of Ethics fined […]

The Illinois First District Appellate Court upheld Cook County’s ethics ordinance restricting political contributions from persons seeking official action from the county.

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios challenged the rule earlier this year after the County Board of Ethics fined Berrios for receiving contributions over the $750 limit.

The court ruled self-funding candidates donating over $100,000 to their own campaign only lifted state contribution limits and did not affect any locally imposed limits set by the county.

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September 19, 2018 •

U.S. Court of Appeals Upholds IL Contribution Limits

The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Illinois Disclosure and Regulation of Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Act. In 2012, Liberty PAC filed a lawsuit claiming the Illinois campaign finance law violates the First Amendment by restricting contributions from […]

The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Illinois Disclosure and Regulation of Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Act.

In 2012, Liberty PAC filed a lawsuit claiming the Illinois campaign finance law violates the First Amendment by restricting contributions from individual donors, allowing political parties to make unlimited donations during a general election, creating a waiver provision that lifts spending limits, and allowing unlimited contributions from legislative caucus committees.

The U.S. District Court dismissed the first three claims at the pleadings stage due to precedent and conducted a bench trial on the fourth issue and ruled for the state.

The U.S. Circuit Court panel affirmed the lower court’s decision in its entirety and the plaintiffs intend to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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July 6, 2018 •

Illinois Lawmaker Resigns to Take New Post

State Representative Patti Bellock announced she has resigned in order to accept Gov. Bruce Rauner’s offer to serve as the Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Rep. Bellock was the first woman to serve as a […]

State Representative Patti Bellock announced she has resigned in order to accept Gov. Bruce Rauner’s offer to serve as the Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

Rep. Bellock was the first woman to serve as a deputy leader of a legislative caucus in the state.

A new representative will be appointed to represent the 47th House District in the coming weeks.

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June 4, 2018 •

Illinois Legislature Adjourns Spring Session

The Illinois General Assembly adjourned its spring session on Thursday, May 31. Prior to adjournment, lawmakers passed a $38.5 billion budget for the next fiscal year. Legislators also approved a bill with a series of ethics reforms related to complaints […]

The Illinois General Assembly adjourned its spring session on Thursday, May 31. Prior to adjournment, lawmakers passed a $38.5 billion budget for the next fiscal year.

Legislators also approved a bill with a series of ethics reforms related to complaints filed, investigated, or pending with the state’s inspectors general. The position of the legislative inspector general (LIG) will be a full-time permanent post, rather than the temporary special position it is now.

While the changes are a step in the right direction, many argue the reforms do not go far enough in making the complaint process more responsive. Critics are pushing for the LIG to be a completely independent position.

Currently, the LIG cannot investigate an ethics complaint made against legislators or legislative staff unless or until it receives permission from the Legislative Ethics Commission, a bipartisan panel of legislators.

The annual six-day veto session for the 100th General Assembly convenes November 13.

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April 5, 2018 •

Contribution Limits Lifted in Chicago Mayoral Race

Contribution limits have been lifted for individuals running in the 2019 Chicago mayoral race. Per state law, the limits are lifted for all candidates in a local race once a candidate contributes $100,000 to his or her own campaign within […]

Contribution limits have been lifted for individuals running in the 2019 Chicago mayoral race.

Per state law, the limits are lifted for all candidates in a local race once a candidate contributes $100,000 to his or her own campaign within a year of the election.

Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has a major fundraising advantage; he raised over $24 million in the 2015 race.

Businessman Willie Wilson says he made a $100,000 contribution on Wednesday in an effort to level the playing field for other candidates.

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March 15, 2018 •

Circuit Court Upholds Cook County Pay-to-play Restrictions

The Cook County Circuit Court upheld county pay-to-play limits on Tuesday, ruling against County Assessor Joseph Berrios. Berrios challenged the county’s campaign contribution limits for those who have sought official action from the county as unconstitutional. He also argued only […]

The Cook County Circuit Court upheld county pay-to-play limits on Tuesday, ruling against County Assessor Joseph Berrios.

Berrios challenged the county’s campaign contribution limits for those who have sought official action from the county as unconstitutional. He also argued only the state Legislature has the authority to set contribution limits; Judge Sanjay Tailor disagreed.

Local governments are permitted to enact laws governing campaign finance, provided they do not interfere with voter registration and election mechanics.

Berrios is expected to appeal.

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March 1, 2018 •

Candidate Asking Court to Void Cook County Pay-to-Play Limits

Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios is asking Circuit Court Judge Sanjay Tailor to void the county’s pay-to-play provisions. Current ethics rules limit campaign contributions from those who seek official action from the county. Berrios argues only the state has the […]

Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios is asking Circuit Court Judge Sanjay Tailor to void the county’s pay-to-play provisions. Current ethics rules limit campaign contributions from those who seek official action from the county.

Berrios argues only the state has the authority to limit campaign contributions, while the county maintains it is permitted to set more-restrictive limits to avoid impropriety.

Berrios was fined $41,000 in January (after receiving warnings from the Board of Ethics last summer) for taking 41 contributions exceeding pay-to-play limits from property tax appeal lawyers affected by the decisions of his office.

As he waits for a court ruling, Berrios continues to accept contributions exceeding county limits.

Pictured: Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios

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