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Saturday, March 28, 2020

Coalition of Republican legislators and candidates pledge to change culture of corruption in Springfield


By Carrie Bradon | Jun 15, 2018

Republican legislators and candidates gathered to pledge to end the culture of corruption in Springfield

More than a dozen Republican legislators and candidates came together on June 10 to pledge to replace the current culture of corruption in the Illinois government with one of responsibility and accountability.

"We have wholesale government failure on so many fronts," Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), who was at the event, said. "The same leaders in Springfield have held power for so long that think they—and their underlings—believe they can say, do, vote, ignore, disrespect as they like. They continue in power because no one has held them to account for their actions."

The group introduced three initiatives, which they said must be implemented to achieve the kind of lasting change that is needed in Springfield. 

Illinois Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton)

First, the group demanded that House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) resign. 

They also called for an independent legislative inspector general and Legislative Ethics Commission, which must be held accountable to remove any risks that may arise from conflicts of interests.

Finally, the group demanded that reforms be made to the process through which ethics complaints are filed and investigated because there are now more protections available for the accused than for victims.

The group said that the General Assembly needs to pass HB 4840, which would require that complainants are given notice when their complaints are received. They must also be allowed to review information that they have submitted to the inspector general to ensure that their file is not lacking any information. Additionally, they should be allowed to testify personally at a hearing on the matter, as well as have their own counsel present if they desire. 

Ammie Kessem, a Republican state House candidate in the 19th House District, explained that the culture in Springfield needs to change.

"This is a culture that has grown over decades," she said. "Those who propagate the culture have been referred to as ‘The Machine.’ Speaker Madigan’s Machine is a group of people who twist policy and the legislative process for their own personal gain. It includes special interest groups and elected officials. Like the mafia, the Machine enriches and protects itself at the expense of others. Unlike the mafia, the Machine has actual legal authority to do the dirty work it does and is, therefore, disproportionately powerful."

Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) said that one individual with too much power will always create problems, which he says has happened in Chicago and Springfield.

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