Illinois state Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur)
Illinois state Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) was not surprised to hear former Legislative Inspector General (LIG) Julie Porter claim that her efforts at ethics reform were for the most part muzzled by powerful Springfield Democrats.
“She’s not the first one to leave feeling that way,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “I can remember when Speaker [Mike] Madigan (D-Chicago) ran off a gentleman that came before her in that position and after he left he wrote a report detailing all the problems and offering solutions, none of which have been adopted.”
The Center Square reports that Porter claims the Legislative Ethics Commission (LEC), the very body empowered to help her in fight corruption in Springfield, actually did more to run interference for those under scrutiny than anything else. Porter served for nearly two years, during which she says she filed a series of reform measures that were never acted upon by the LEC, a bipartisan panel of lawmakers from both chambers.
Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago)
In Porter’s words, the state law governing the LEC and the LIG has “fundamental flaws that undermine any true effort to have an independent watchdog with real authority to investigate and expose misconduct.” Her recommendations included making LEC leadership more diverse to the point of including non-legislators who are not "beholden to legislative leadership,” and granting the LIG the authority to conduct investigations without having to secure the approval of the commission.
“Until Democrats decide they’ve had enough, nothing about all this is really going to change,” Caulkins said. “Republicans stand ready to make change to end this climate of corruption, intimidation and abuse. For years, Republicans have offered to work with Democrats that truly want to change this culture and make a real difference.”