Ethics bill aims to ban fundraising in Sangamon County when legislature is in session
An ethics bill on the Illinois House floor that would prohibit fundraisers in Sangamon County while the General Assembly is in session has garnered plenty of support.
The Herald & Review reported on Aug. 18, 2015 that although Manar switched his planned fundraiser during the Illinois State Fair to an unpaid event, it prompted Butler's bill and drew the support of four citizens who filed witness slips supporting it.
The Herald pointed out that the old rule was aimed at building a “firewall” between lawmaking and campaigning, and only applied to events outside of Sangamon County. The new rule, which has been tabled in the House, would apply to events within Sangamon County.
"We are in support of this bill because when the Illinois General Assembly is in session the elected officials should be doing the business of their constituents, and not fundraising for their own campaigns,” Dr. Lora Chamberlain, lead organizer for Clean Count Cook County, told the Prairie State Wire in an email interview.
Instead of raising money, Chamberlain said lawmakers would be better served by reading and researching the bills they are asked to vote on.
According to a document from the National Conference of State Legislatures, 15 states including Illinois have some restriction on campaign contributions during legislative sessions, while 13 states only permit lobbyist contributions.
"As a group, Clean Count Cook County feels that there is too much corrupting money in our political system and favors a small donor matching program such as the one that has been implemented in (New York City) and outlined in HB5531 – a bill that is moving through the Illinois General Assembly this session,” she wrote.
HB5531, which would create the Small Donor Democracy Matching System for Fair Elections Act, was introduced by Rep. Kelly M. Cassidy (D-Chicago) and has been referred to the Rules Committee for further evaluation. So far, the proposal has one additional co-sponsor, Rep. Linda Chapa LaVie (D-Aurora).