The Campaign Spot

Illinois Lawmakers Strangely Uninterested in Fighting Corruption

It’s really amazing that the Chicago Tribune managed to print this article with a straight face:

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – With one governor in prison and another under indictment, Illinois officials must choose between patching holes in current ethics laws or attempting a top-to-bottom overhaul that might hurt their own interests.
“We believe this time in Illinois government is gut-check time. The nation’s eyes are upon us,” Patrick Collins, head of an ethics commission, warned Tuesday. “Will we get meaningful reform?”

That commission is calling for limiting the size of campaign donations, restricting the power of legislative leaders, giving state law enforcement a bigger role in rooting out corruption, and keeping a closer eye on how government spends money. And yet, Illinois politicians are exhibiting a strange lack of enthusiasm for the changes.

“It would be a serious mistake for anyone to assume that just because the Collins commission came out with a list of suggestions, these suggestions are automatically the Holy Grail,” said Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat who sits on a special committee studying government reform.
They promise to deliver major improvements but not necessarily fundamental changes in Illinois government and politics.

Actually, look who seems pretty open to the sweeping overhaul proposal:

House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, said the commission is bound to stir up opposition by proposing changes in the way the Legislature operates — for instance, by suggesting term limits for leaders. But he said it would be a mistake for lawmakers to ignore such an ambitious, detailed plan.
“I think it’s probably a ‘throw the kitchen sink in’ time in state history,” Cross said. “It’s kind of a crisis time.”

Wait a minute, Obama ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004 touting how much he had reformed Illinois state ethics laws.