Financial disclosure a target of lawmakers' ethics quest

  • In this April 26, 2018 photo, Springfield, Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego speaks at the state Capitol in Springfield, Ill. Ethics scandals rocking the Illinois Statehouse this fall have lawmakers promising to tighten rules around influencing legislation. One focus is on financial disclosure. More than 26,000 legislators and other state employees must annually file a statement of economic interest. Experts say it falls short. Wheeler said GOP members balked at adopting a new form this month because of questions about how some questions could be interpreted and to ensure professional confidentiality wasn't violated.

    In this April 26, 2018 photo, Springfield, Rep. Keith Wheeler, R-Oswego speaks at the state Capitol in Springfield, Ill. Ethics scandals rocking the Illinois Statehouse this fall have lawmakers promising to tighten rules around influencing legislation. One focus is on financial disclosure. More than 26,000 legislators and other state employees must annually file a statement of economic interest. Experts say it falls short. Wheeler said GOP members balked at adopting a new form this month because of questions about how some questions could be interpreted and to ensure professional confidentiality wasn't violated. Associated Press

  • FILE - In this June 1, 2019 file photo, Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris, D-Chicago, speaks art the state Capitol in Springfield, Ill. Ethics scandals rocking the Illinois Statehouse this fall have lawmakers promising to tighten rules around influencing legislation. One focus is on financial disclosure. More than 26,000 legislators and other state employees must annually file a statement of economic interest. Experts say it falls short. Harris' measure was accompanied by a House resolution creating a commission to examine ethics challenges facing the ethics-challenged politics of Illinois, including an improved disclosure statement, and recommend changes by next spring.

    FILE - In this June 1, 2019 file photo, Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris, D-Chicago, speaks art the state Capitol in Springfield, Ill. Ethics scandals rocking the Illinois Statehouse this fall have lawmakers promising to tighten rules around influencing legislation. One focus is on financial disclosure. More than 26,000 legislators and other state employees must annually file a statement of economic interest. Experts say it falls short. Harris' measure was accompanied by a House resolution creating a commission to examine ethics challenges facing the ethics-challenged politics of Illinois, including an improved disclosure statement, and recommend changes by next spring. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 12/1/2019 10:04 AM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Ethics scandals rocking the Illinois Statehouse this fall have lawmakers promising to tighten rules around influencing legislation. One focus is on financial disclosure.

More than 26,000 legislators and other state employees must annually file a statement of economic interest. Experts say it falls short.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Cathie Jackson is a Virginia attorney who helps federal judges complete financial disclosure. She says the Illinois form requires reporting income, dividends and capital gains. But she says it's light on compelling an explanation of how they were obtained.

Gary Schons says Illinois needs a law prohibiting lawmakers to vote on issues where they have conflicts of interest. The San Diego lawyer and California disclosure expert says disclosure is a way of reminding public officials to steer clear of conflicts that could result in discipline. Illinois has no such penalties.

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