Part 24 of our 36-part series “35 States and One Congress More Ethical Than Missouri” looks at Illinois. Wow. This one is difficult. Living across the river from Illinois always gave Missourians a sense of superiority. As bad as politics got in the Show-Me State, it was always significantly “cleaner” than what was going on in the Prairie State cesspool.
After all, what can you say about a state that regularly puts its governors in jail? But for our specific purposes, we’re looking at ethics regulations concerning lobbyist gift-giving. Here, Illinois law reads:
“Except as otherwise provided in this Act, no member, officer, or state employee shall intentionally solicit or accept any gift from any prohibited source or in violation of any federal or State statute, rule, or regulation. This ban applies to and includes spouses of and immediate family living with the member, officer, or state employee. No prohibited source shall offer or make a gift that violates this Section.
A prohibited source is anyone who: is seeking official action, does business or is seeking to do business with the member, conducts activities regulated by the member, has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the member’s official duties, is a registered lobbyist.”
Further along in this section of the law, exceptions are given for gifts from prohibited sources “with a cumulative total value of less than $100.”
So Illinois joins 23 other “Bright Line” states that allow gifts from lobbyists but only up to a certain monetary point. At $100 per source per year, Illinois ranks a bit stricter than average when it comes to these states with limits.
Let that soak in a bit Missouri. Even sleazy, awful, corrupt Illinois understands the need to limit lobbyist largesse. They understand the terrible perception given of a state legislature on the take with lobbyists with interests in state legislation and regulation.
Even former Illinois governors sitting in jails get it. When will Missouri?
Support the Missouri Gift-Ban Pledge and legislation regulating lobbyist gift-giving.