Rep. Wheeler calls on General Assembly to act now on sweeping ethics reform

State Representative Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) signed on to co-sponsor a package of sweeping ethics reform legislation introduced by House Republicans this week to address recently-revealed corrupt behavior by members of the General Assembly that was brought to light through ongoing federal investigations.

“The people of the Fox Valley support ethics reform and rooting out corruption. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican, Democrat, or independent,” said Rep. Wheeler. “We should all agree that action is sorely overdue to enact the reforms needed to ensure that legislators uphold the most basic and common sense standards of integrity. The reform proposals contained in this package of bills are essential to begin restoring public trust, and we can adopt them as soon as next week. I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to take corruption seriously and pass these reforms when we return to session on November 12.”

The ethics reform package includes:

  • House Bill 3954 will revise statements of economic interest 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 power-brokers 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 will 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.

These proposed ethics reforms specifically address instances of corrupt behavior engaged in by former State Representative Luis Arroyo and State Senator Martin Sandoval. Aspects of this proposal have already received bipartisan support and can be passed and enacted as soon as next week.

The General Assembly is scheduled to begin the second week of veto session on Tuesday, November 12, 2019.