An Illinois Constitutional Amendment on Ethics -- Maybe the Best, Last Resort

From the Albracht for Senate campaign…

I submit to the people of Illinois, but especially to the people of the 36th Senate District, we are destined to become a spin-off of the Sopranos. In this HBO series about a New Jersey crime family, the bribes were paid to those who were in a position of influence, kickbacks went to those who paid contracts with public funds to receive a special “bonus” and pay-offs went to those who played the game and delivered. With this said, I would invite everyone to read the latest rendition of the Illinois “pay to play” political scene in the Chicago News Cooperative’s January 10th’s story by Tulsky & Sullivan – “Family Ties Bind Lobbyists, Lawmakers” (www.chicagonewsscoop.org/family-ties-complicate-lobbyist-relationships). “Not for nothing” to quote Tony, but it made the NY Times too. In this investigative report, it clearly lays out the relationship and the stunning conflict of interest between Senator Mike Jacobs and his father and current lobbyist, former Senator Denny Jacobs and documents the ramming through of the Smart Grid legislation that is destined to cost the Illinois taxpayers billions of dollars in increased rate hikes. Simply put, lobbyist Denny Jacobs job was to get the Illinois senate to push through the energy companies’ smart grid agenda putting the Illinois taxpayers on the hook for the actual investment that rightly should have been the energy companies’ risk. The bill also bypassed the Citizens Utility Board that stood squarely in the path of this piece of legislation. The end result, Denny did his lobbyist job and Mike carried his water and rammed the bill through. To add insult to injury, when questioned on the clear conflict of interest by Senator McCarter, Mike Jacobs sucker punched McCarter on the Senate floor. This was done under the pretext of “how dare you question me, my father or my family!”

During an interview, Senator Mike stated “He (Denny) is a lobbyist. I am a senator. He doesn’t lobby me. There is no financial benefit”. We, the voters of the 36th, are now supposed to take Senator Jacobs at his word and that — as they say, is that. But wait, we do know that lobbyists are paid (well, I might add) to represent companies and secure preferential treatment from politicians and hold on, Senator Jacobs received $18,000 plus in “donations” from the energy companies. So this leads to the question: “when does a donation become a bribe, a kickback or a pay-off?” HBO might well be looking at the spin-off potential.

So what do we do? We can do what Rhode Island did in 1986 and adopt a constitutional amendment. We can pass an amendment to the Illinois Constitution that clearly states and demands ethical conduct from our elected and appointed public officials and will restrict any and all elected and appointed public officials from taking part in any matters that they have a direct or indirect financial interest. We can restrict or eliminate public official’s action in matters that benefit family members including extended relatives of any stripe. Further, a public official would not be allowed to vote or debate in any matter pertaining to a past or present business partner.

As is said, the longest journey is begun by the first step. This first step will show the rest of America that Illinois is serious about putting our house in order. It will show the financial world that we are in fact moving in a direction that will ultimately bring serious positive change and accountability to our state. But above all, it will be the beginning of the end of Illinois’ infamous “pay to play” corruption legacy.

I’m Bill Albracht, I’m running for the IL Senate 36th District seat — and this time, I’m fighting for you.

For more information about Bill Albracht, visit our website at http://www.albrachtforsenate.com.

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  • This is a good idea on the face, but when the chief law enforcement officer in the state, Lisa Madigan, is related through "blood" to the Speaker of the House, Mike Madigan, it is doubtful the tribe will turn on itself, no matter what is inscribed on the tablets.

    "Illinois -- A Great Place to be FROM!"

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