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Lobbying, Pay-to-Play, Campaign Finance: What in the World Is Going on in Illinois?

September 2009

Illinois began 2009 with a new pay-to-play statute, a new pay-to-play Executive Order and several proposals for substantive reform in the areas of campaign finance, ethics and lobbying, among others. Now the state is down to just the pay-to-play statute, and some of the reforms have yet to make it into law, despite action by a legislature largely consumed with budgetary matters. Here is a description of what has happened so far this year.

First, Governor Pat Quinn signed a new piece of legislation on August 18, 2009, that amends certain ethics and lobbying laws. These new laws go into effect on January 1, 2010 (we will provide additional information about them in subsequent issues of Election Law News).

Second, Governor Quinn on August 27, 2009, vetoed campaign finance reforms. These reforms contained provisions that, among other things, would have established contribution limits in Illinois. According to news reports, the Governor believed that the reforms were not extensive enough and stated that he will push for stronger legislation.

Third, Governor Quinn used his amendatory veto on August 18, 2009, on Senate Bill 51. This bill, largely focused on procurement issues, would have tweaked the state's pay-to-play statute. It is too early to determine what will happen to this legislation in the legislature.

Finally, as we reported in May, Governor Quinn on April 3, 2009, rescinded Governor Rod Blagojevich's pay-to-play executive order. This executive order was, in many ways, broader than the current pay-to-play statute.