State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) is continuing his efforts to clean up ethics issues in state government by co-sponsoring new legislation that targets potential conflicts of interest with the state board of elections.
Under current law, members of the board of elections can not only contribute to campaigns, but can serve as officers of state and national political action committees which fund campaigns. This inappropriately allows board members to have an oversight role in some of the same campaigns that they are also funding.
“This is another conflict of interest situation where it looks like the fox is guarding the henhouse,” said Sen. Barickman. “Closing this loophole should be an easy vote, and an obvious step in the process of trying to restore the public’s confidence in their government.”
Senate Bill 2300 would prohibit a member of the State Board of Elections from also contributing to or being an officer of a state or federal political committee. The bill also lays out the process by which members of the State Board of Elections must resign from political committees:
- A member of the State Board of Elections serving as an officer of a political committee must resign from that committee within 30 days of his/her appointment confirmation in the Senate.
- Any current State Board of Elections member has 30 days from the effective date to resign as an officer from any political committee.
Senator Barickman also recently filed legislation to give the Legislative Inspector General (LIG) the flexibility and freedom they need to conduct investigations, changes which past LIG’s have specifically requested. SB 2297 would enable the LIG to investigate complaints against legislators and issue subpoenas without approval from the Legislative Ethics Commission, which is a commission made up of legislators themselves. By taking legislators out of the process, the bill would ensure independence in the investigation of these claims.
“The public deserves to be able to trust that government officials are working for the people they represent and not their own personal interests, and if not, that they are held accountable,” said Senator Barickman. “These bills are both common sense changes that would provide an important step in restoring the trust of the people in their government.”