Deputy House Minority Leader Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) has filed new legislation to strengthen state ethics law by extending the list of whom is required to file quarterly statements of economic interest to include agency department heads within the Executive branch.
The need for renewed attention to Illinois’ financial disclosure laws was emphasized earlier today as the Better Government Association reported on how the blind trust set up to manage Gov. JB Pritzker’s personal fortune bought stock in one of the state’s biggest Medicaid contractors in 2020, the same year his administration made several key decisions that substantially benefited the company’s profits.
“Illinois taxpayers are justifiably skeptical about public officials and those who serve under them directly or indirectly taking advantage of their position of public trust to turn a personal profit,” Rep. Demmer said. “Heads of state departments should be held to the same rigorous standards for filing timely and accurate financial disclosures currently in place for statewide constitutional officers, members of the General Assembly and others as prescribed by state law.”
Demmer hopes to get a hearing on House Bill 5700 scheduled in the House Ethics & Elections Committee, on which he is a member. Demmer’s legislation would require the Secretary of State to provide annual notice to persons holding elective office in the Executive Branch of State government; persons serving as the head of a department of State government; and members of a Commission or Board created by the Illinois Constitution of the requirement for filing, on a quarterly basis, a statement of economic interests that fully and transparently discloses the sources of their income.
Beyond Illinois, public and media scrutiny has increased pressure on Congress to confront the issue of stock purchases by elected officials, where legislation to strengthen stock disclosure laws aimed at preventing lawmakers from profiting from their access to insider information are being considered.
“I urge our Illinois congressional delegation to take the lead on a bipartisan basis to put tough reforms in place to prohibit members of Congress from abusing their access to information and cashing in on stock purchases,” Demmer added. “Here at the state level, I will continue to work toward strengthening Illinois’ financial disclosure laws to give taxpayers greater confidence that no elected or appointed official in state government is able to abuse their position for personal profit.”
Representative Demmer serves Illinois’ 90th District which includes portions of Ogle, Lee, DeKalb and LaSalle Counties.