Government Ethics

In 2020, Reform for Illinois has been participating in the hearings of the Illinois Legislature’s Joint Commission on Government Ethics and Lobbying Reform. Read our testimony below. 

Read RFI Policy Director Alisa Kaplan’s January 15, 2020 testimony about reforming Illinois’ lobbying industry here.

Read RFI Policy Director Alisa Kaplan’s January 30, 2020 testimony about reforming conflict of interest disclosure and enforcement here.

Read RFI Policy Director Alisa Kaplan’s February 6, 2020 testimony about reforming the Legislative Inspector General’s office and the Legislative Ethics Commission here.


Reform for Illinois has been fighting for ethics reform in Illinois for more than two decades. With corruption scandals mounting around the state, it has never been more important to enact meaningful reforms that strengthen oversight and ensure that public officials put their constituents first.

In 2019, we submitted SB 1426, sponsored by state Senator Melinda Bush. This bill aimed to enhance the Legislative Inspector General’s ability to conduct independent, transparent ethics investigations involving the legislature by:

  • Empowering the Legislative Inspector General to subpoena documents and witnesses without permission from the legislators on the Legislative Ethics Commission.
  • Enabling the Legislative Inspector General to publish founded reports about ethics violations that involve members of the legislature without permission from the legislators on the Legislative Ethics Commission.
  • Placing members of the public on the Legislative Ethics Commission, which currently is comprised only of legislators.
  • Providing for comprehensive investigations in all cases, even those in which a complainant takes longer to come forward, by standardizing the statute of limitations.

Reform for Illinois also supports:

  • Giving the Legislative Inspector General the ability to open ethics investigations without the permission of the Legislative Ethics Commission.
  • Lobbying reforms such as “revolving door” restrictions, which provide a “cooling off” period before former legislators can begin lobbying their peers in the General Assembly.
  • Increased disclosure requirements that would enable citizens to know who is paying lobbyists – and how much they are paying – to influence our elected officials.
  • Conflict of interest reforms that would reduce opportunities for officials to use their public office for private gain.
  • Campaign finance reform so our representatives can pay attention to the people, not to big donors, party insiders, and special interests.

For more information on our recent legislation, see our Legislative Initiatives page.

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