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updated: 1/20/2011 5:32 PM

Simon pushes for transparency

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  • Sheila Simon, shown here on the campaign trail, held a news conference Thursday in Springfield to release her finances.

    Sheila Simon, shown here on the campaign trail, held a news conference Thursday in Springfield to release her finances.
    Associated Press

 
By Jeff Engelhardt

SPRINGFIELD -- Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon made a push for transparent government Thursday, disclosing everything from the value of her vehicles to the stocks she holds.

The financial report showed that as of November, Simon's net worth was $586,709 -- a majority of which comes from properties she owns in Carbondale and Makanda. The report also showed Simon made $35,954 last year as a professor at Southern Illinois University, while her husband's income was $87,946 from his job as a community college teacher.

Simon said she wanted to lead by example and hopes other politicians will follow to restore some public faith in government.

"I would love to just say trust me, but I realize that has very little value," Simon said. "That's why I am putting out the financial statement so people don't have to just trust me, they can look at this."

Simon reported everything from the $10,935 combined value of her pickup truck and van to the $1,463 she invested in the Hershey Co.

However, some good-government proponents do not expect Simon's example to be followed by other politicians.

Simon also issued an executive order that states she will not accept contributions from employees of constitutional officers or anyone the governor appoints. The order also banned her employees from accepting food and drinks from lobbyists.

Other state employees can accept up to $75 in refreshments from lobbyists per day.

Simon said she did not know whether Gov. Pat Quinn or any other lawmaker would follow in her footsteps.

David Morrison, deputy director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said he applauds Simon's disclosure, but not many people would be comfortable opening their entire checkbook for all to see.

"What she is putting out here is a remarkable display of disclosure," Morrison said. "This is beyond gold standard. I wouldn't say that everyone else has to do exactly what she did to also earn applause."

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