You have the opportunity right now to make a phone call that could change the political culture of Illinois.
How desperately our state needs this to happen!
You all know that Illinois has become notorious as only one of five states without any limits on contributions to political campaigns. The public humiliation of Rod Blagojevich’s indictment gave us a new chance to make the case for change.
Since late last winter, a civic group called CHANGE Illinois — with your help and PCG as a member of the steering committee — has been leading the charge.
Legislative leaders seemed poised for action last spring, but the bill they drafted was phony reform. It suggested limits with more holes than a truck full of swiss cheese.
When the Governor courageously vetoed the bill, they vowed to work with CHANGE Illinois to produce meaningful reform.
What they have now come up with is tantalizingly close, but, still, with a hitch that virtually wipes out all the other good parts. Briefly put, the legislative leaders are proposing reasonable limits on individuals, corporations, unions, and PACs — along with better enforcement — but not on themselves.
Peter Benzinger, co-chair of CHANGE Illinois, put it perfectly when testifying against the bill last week: "It is like a house without a roof." What a telling image! The legislative leaders have created a structure of reform. But with this gaping hole, the flood of big money that drowns out the voices of so many others will continue to pour in for these leaders to distribute as they please.
Why, then, is this potentially a historic few days? Because I am convinced if all of us — including you — make phone calls to your legislators (1-800-917-3020) they will insist on the kind of bill that does the job. We are getting the word out (Fox News and Daily Herald), but we need your help.
Candidates don’t want to run for office in the February 2nd primary without meaningful reform on which to campaign. I don’t believe that House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton, and minority leaders Tom Cross and Christine Radogno will want them to either, if they know that you will be upset by the absence of real reform.
Senate Bill 1466 will be voted on in the General Assembly on Wednesday or Thursday. Please call now and let your senator and representative know that you are watching how they vote, and that you insist on real reform, including contribution limits on legislative leaders as well everyone else.