Springfield — In light of news reports that a member of the Illinois House of Representatives was arrested by Federal agents for attempted bribery of a public official, State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) introduced legislation today that would ban lawmakers from performing paid lobbying work with local government units while in office.
“As evidenced by the case of State Representative Luis Arroyo, lawmakers who serve as lobbyists can push legislation they can benefit from financially. That is wrong and a violation of our oath of office,” said Rep. Demmer. “There is a clear conflict of interest for sitting lawmakers to perform paid lobbying work while in office. House Bill 3947 would ban lawmakers, their spouses, and live-in immediate family members from that activity. I urge my Democratic colleagues to support this bill and other ethics reform measures so we can eliminate conflicts of interest and restore trust in state government.”
The legislation, House Bill 3947 (HB 3947), would ban members of the General Assembly, their spouses, and immediate live-in family members from performing paid lobbying work with local government units. Currently, members of the Illinois General Assembly – state representatives and state senators – are prohibited from lobbying the State of Illinois, but are not prohibited from lobbying local government units, such as a counties or municipalities.
Last Friday, Democratic State Representative Luis Arroyo of Chicago was arrested by Federal agents for attempted bribery of a public official. Arroyo works as a registered lobbyist with the City of Chicago in addition to his duties as a state representative. According to the United States Department of Justice, Arroyo attempted to bribe an unnamed state senator $2,500 per month in exchange for supporting legislation that would benefit one of Arroyo’s lobbying clients. If convicted of the corruption charges, Arroyo faces up to 10 years in prison.
If HB 3947 were law prior to Rep. Arroyo’s attempted bribery scheme, he would have been precluded from performing paid lobbying work on behalf of his client while serving in office.
Rep. Demmer gave remarks on the legislation at a press conference earlier today. HB 3947 has yet to be assigned to a committee. House Speaker Michael Madigan released a statement yesterday saying he is open to strengthening Illinois’ current ethics and lobbying laws.