News Local/State

Pritzker Vows Lobbyist Ethics Changes As Early As Next Week’s Veto Session

Gov. Pritzker speaks to a crowd at an event in Will County on Nov. 6.

Gov. Pritzker speaks to a crowd at an event in Will County on Nov. 6. Illinois Department of Central Management Services

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker says he’s "furious" about the behavior of state lawmakers ensnared in federal probes this year. Now he’s calling for changes in the way lobbyists disclose their finances.

While he has yet to publicly elaborate on how exactly he’d change lobbying rules in all, Pritzker says amending disclosure laws is an “important” start.

“There’s so much more than we need to do to root out the corruption, to make sure that we’re refreshing our ethics laws, and making sure that we’re expanding disclosure by the people who have so much influence in Springfield: the lobbyists," he told a crowd at an event in Will County.

There are three state lawmakers caught up in federal investigations right now, which stemmed in part from their involvement with lobby groups. So, Pritzker is arguing for a greater spotlight on lobbyist activity:

“We want to make sure that lobbyists are reporting everything we will want to know so that we know how much influence they’re having on legislators, how much money they’re giving, who they’re associated with that’s giving money," he said.

Illinois already requires lobby groups to report their names, associations, expenses and activities at least twice a month. It does not, however, require disclosure of how much they’re getting paid.

The city of Chicago does require lobbyists to disclose that number, and a published report suggests Illinois could follow that lead.

The governor is pushing for state lawmakers to take up the change during next week’s veto session. A Pritzker spokeswoman says “broad, comprehensive” ethics changes could come as early as next year.

So far, it's unclear what that means.