News reports announced this morning that the House of Representatives had narrowly passed an ethics reform bill. That happened in Washington, DC; the U.S. House of Representatives passed the measure, not the Illinois House of Representatives. In the shorthand way that some news reports covered the story, Illinoisans may think that their state officials had taken action. Not true. Here’s a brief recap.
In Washington, DC, the Republican majority reacted to a laundry list of corruption, including the indictments of Jack Abramhoff and some of his associates; and also former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, and the conviction of Republican Rep. Duke Cunningham by narrowly passing legislation to change the way lobbyists are regulated. Democrats, in the minority, objected that the reforms didn’t go far enough. That measure now goes to the U.S. Senate.
In Springfield, the Democratic majority reacted to a laundry list of corruption, including the conviction of a former governor, the sitting Chicago City Clerk, the former Republican chief of staff in the House and Democratic leaders in Metro East, by sitting on their hands and doing nothing.