Ethics should be new governor's first priority, Crain's Chicago Business says
Gov. J.B. Pritzker is being called on to make ethics a first order of business for his new administration.
A Jan. 4 Crain’s Chicago Business editorial encouraged the billionaire businessman to start the process by banning lawyer lawmakers from engaging in property tax appeals.
"[Pritzker and Chicago's mayor] first ought to tackle the ethics issues and conflicts of interest highlighted in the Burke case once and for all," the editorial states. "We know the practice of lawmakers at any level of government serving as property tax appeals lawyers is a conflict of interest, and it must end. Governor-elect Pritzker should call on lawmakers to immediately take up legislation outlawing the practice.”
The issue has been raised anew in the wake of Chicago Ald. Ed Burke’s growing troubles. The longest-serving lawmaker in city history, Burke faces corruption charges that include accusations he used his power and influence to steer city business to his private law firm, which handles property tax appeals.
In calling for the change, Crain's Chicago saluted outgoing Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, for his push to institute term limits and to ban the kind of double-dipping practices the website is speaking out against.
“This is why Rauner, for all his faults, wasn't wrong to advocate for term limits and to suggest that House Speaker Michael Madigan's day job, like Burke's, presents such a clear conflict of interest to his role as a public servant that it defies logic,” the editorial added. “In fact, it is well past time for it to be illegal to do what Burke and Madigan have done for decades—handling property tax appeals for businesses standing to benefit from or be harmed by government actions.”