Illinois House Republicans: Democrats Must Act on Ethics

Springfield, IL… Just one week after guilty verdicts were handed down in federal court, sealing the fate of the ComEd Four for their corrupt actions, and following today’s disclosure of former Democrat State Senator Tom Cullerton walked straight from his jail cell and into a lobby firm, Illinois House Republicans sharpened their criticism on supermajority Democrats in Springfield for failing to clean up their own house and operating under the same corrupt Madigan rulebook.

In December 2020, Speaker Welch, acting as Madigan’s appointed Chairman of the Special Investigating Committee, shut down hearings after previously receiving testimony from ComEd’s compliance attorney. Despite repeated investigations, indictments, and arrests, Democrats have not acted on any meaningful anti-corruption reforms and have rarely called their colleagues out for wrongdoing.   

Just yesterday, former Democratic Governor Pat Quinn joined Republicans’ calls to address conflicts of interest. House Republican Assistant Minority Leader State Representative Ryan Spain talked about those conflicts, saying, “Democratic Speaker Chris Welch shut down the Special Investigating Committee looking into Madigan, and then got Madigan’s full endorsement for Speaker. Representative Lisa Hernandez shut down fair redistricting and then received a plum assignment as Chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois. And Governor Pritzker pushed to expand Medicaid-like benefits to undocumented immigrants and is now lobbying for managed care administration of these services while his own “blind trust” is reportedly invested in the state’s largest managed care provider, Centene. These are existing conflicts of interest by Democratic politicians in Illinois which should not be ignored.” 

House Republican Floor Leader Patrick Windhorst joined Spain and Representatives Amy Elik and Blaine Wilhour in asking, “Governor Quinn said yesterday we need change; Congressman Sean Casten is calling for change. So, we ask again – what is it going to take to get House Democrats to recognize we need to stop corruption once and for all?” 

Representative Amy Elik further pointed out an obvious ethical loophole left unaddressed by Democrats. “Under current law, former Speaker Madigan will continue to collect a taxpayer-paid pension until a guilty verdict is reached. This means Madigan could go on to collect his elected official pension for several years before it’s taken away. That’s why I’ve filed legislation to suspend a lawmaker’s pension if they are charged with corruption by federal investigators,” said Elik referring to her legislation, House Bill 1277.

“We have numerous bills to address ethics reforms, but Democrats will never act until the courts or the public force their hands. They have shown themselves totally unwilling to clean up the mess they have created,” said Representative Blaine Wilhour, a chief sponsor of more than a half-dozen meaningful ethics reform proposals withering from inaction in the House under Democratic leadership.