Friday, November 16, 2007

Fighting corruption: The big picture

Yesterday's blog noted ways that individual people can fight corruption. Today, we're happily surprised by the timing of an editorial in the Kankakee Daily Journal, which offers a helpful catalog of ways that the State of Illinois can act.

Their editorial, which notes Gov. Ryan as the latest in a too-long line of incarcerated ex-governors (and which asks, "is Gov. Rod Blagojevich next?") offers a thought-provoking list of ideas that would serve as a good starting point for any legislator wondering what to file for next Spring. Passing HB 1 is only a starting point, the Daily Journal notes. After that's accomplished (or, I assume, sooner, if HB 1 remains bottled up), they offer these ideas:

* Donations from gambling interests ought to be barred.

* Unused campaign donations ought to be given back at the end of a campaign, or given to charity. No more stockpiling of money.

* Donations given to one campaign should not be shifted to another. Our system now runs too much money through the Big Four (House and Senate leaders of both parties). The result is a concentration of power and a stranglehold of ideas. We're seeing it now.

* Donations from outside political districts ought to be restricted. Chicago cash should not be poured into downstate.

ICPR has supported some of these ideas before, including oversight of giving by regulated industries, and limits on transfers. Others may be, in our opinion, unnecessary to get at the root of the problem. Our positions aside, we applaud the Daily Journal for offering their thoughts and encourage all Illinoisans to join the discussion.

Individual people can do a lot to stamp out corruption. But the General Assembly can do more, too.

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