From State Rep. David McSweeney:
Rep. David McSweeney Files Bill Requiring Legislator Ethics Violation Reports be Released to the Public
Cary, IL – State Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) wants to make it more difficult for state legislators to cover up for their fellow lawmakers by requiring any founded reports from the Legislative Inspector General (LIG) alleging wrongdoing to automatically be made public.
McSweeney’s legislation would require any founded summary report by the Legislative Inspector General alleging unethical or wrongful conduct on behalf of a member of the General Assembly, along with any response from the ultimate jurisdictional authority or member, shall be made available to the public, regardless of whether a complaint was filed with the Legislative Ethics Commission and regardless of whether disciplinary action resulted.
The release of this information would not require the approval, by vote or otherwise, of the Legislative Ethics Commission.
“Right now, the Legislative Inspector General does not have the authority to release information about suspected wrongdoing on the part of legislators without the approval of the Legislative Ethics Commission,” McSweeney said.
“The problem is that the Commission is governed by legislators. It quite literally is the fox guarding the henhouse. I
“If there is potential wrongdoing on the part of a legislator, the public has a right to know.
“If we are going to fight corruption in Illinois, we need to put an end to a system of rules that allow legislators to cover up for their fellow lawmakers.”
What prompted the legislation is a buried report to the Legislative Ethics Commission from former Legislative Inspector General Julie Porter. According to an op-ed she wrote for the Chicago Tribune on April 23rd, she tried to get her report to be made public, but the Commission refused.
In her op-ed, Porter wrote, “I issued a founded summary report — a report where I found that a legislator engaged in wrongdoing — that was not published. I requested publication, and the commission refused.”
McSweeney has been very vocal about demanding that Republican Leader Jim Durkin tell the public what he knows about the buried report.
McSweeney also called on Durkin to ask the two Republican House members of the Legislative Ethics Commission to support the release of the report.
So far, Durkin has refused to address the buried report in any way. McSweeney said, “Jim Durkin can run, but he can’t hide from Illinois citizens who are sick and tired of corruption in Springfield.”
“What we have now is a system that lacks transparency,” McSweeney said.
“The public has a right to know what is in these reports and if the members of the Commission won’t do the right thing on their own, then we need legislation to compel them to do it, and that is what my legislation does.”
House Bill 3962 has been introduced and awaits assignment to a legislative committee.