Friday, October 09, 2009

Stalemate Over Campaign Contribution Reform In Illinois

WSJ's Douglas Belkin reports that Illinois legislators have reached a stalemate with reform-advocacy group Change Illinois over limits on campaign contributions in Illinois. Not surprising, but dismal:

Between 1970 and February 2009, more than 1,000 Illinois officials and businesspeople have been convicted of public corruption, according to a study by Dick Simpson, a political-science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Remember, that's 1000 caught and convicted. Change Illinois insists that legislation to deal with the endemic corruption in this state must include limits on party contributions, as well as limits for individuals, PACs, unions, and corporations. The problems are challenges with constitutionality, and (obviously) "reluctance of incumbents to cede the advantages of their office."
"This is the single biggest issue in determining whether we're really going to have any reform in the state of Illinois or whether it's going to be business as usual in perpetuity," said Andy Shaw, director of the Better Government Association, a Chicago watchdog group that is part of Change Illinois. "Whoever controls the cash calls the shots."
In other words, the foxes are guarding the henhouse, and I'm going to guess that's the reason that, according to a recent Tribune/WGN poll, most Illinois residents don't believe reform will happen. Nevertheless, Change Illinois is "urging residents to contact lawmakers and pressure them to accept the group's terms or face political consequences."

Political consequences. I like the sound of that.

(Read the rest of Douglas Belkin's article at WSJ . . .)

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