A Harvard University study and a University of Illinois report named Illinois the second most corrupt state and Chicago the first most corrupt city in the United States. It is no secret Illinois has a corruption problem.

In May, the federal government indicted Chicago Alderman Ed Burke on 14 counts of racketeering, attempted extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion and using interstate commerce to facilitate an unlawful activity.

In August, the federal government indicted State Sen. Tom Cullerton on 41 counts of embezzlement, including collecting a salary from the Teamsters Union for a nothing job.

In September, the FBI, according to ABC 7 Chicago, raided State Sen. Martin Sandoval’s Springfield office, District office and home. The Chicago Tribune later reported the FBI was looking for evidence of bribery and theft from a federally funded program.

In October, the federal government indicted State Rep. Luis Arroyo for bribery on gambling related legislation.

This all happened since May 2019.

The federal government is engaged in what the Chicago Tribune calls a “sprawling federal public corruption investigation.” We do not know who else is involved or who is the next elected official to be indicted or arrested. I do know we cannot sit around and wait for the courts to act. Illinois needs a major ethics overhaul.

Only in Illinois can a state legislator also be a registered lobbyist for a local government. This is wrong.

Only in Illinois can the economic statement of interest be so vague, no one knows what the economic interests are. This is wrong.

Only in Illinois can a state representative who resigned in the midst of a federal investigation into public corruption have a say in who replaces him.

This is wrong.

Only in Illinois do ethics violations result in a small slap on the wrist or nothing at all. This is wrong.

The people of Illinois should not have to endure political oppression by politicians who play by a different set of rules.

House Republicans filed a robust set of ethic reform bills designed to root out corruption in Springfield. This Republican reform package lingered in the Rules Committee while at the last minute of veto session, the Democrats filed a watered down bill merely calling for yet another task force to study the issue and delaying any reforms until the end of March 2020 — after the primary election. The Democratic majority is slow walking ethics reform. It clearly is not a priority for them with an election right around the corner.

Illinois should not have to wait for an ethical government. We needed ethics reform yesterday. I am committed to push for ethics reforms to restore an ethical government to Illinois and to restore the trust in our government politicians in the past so effortlessly eroded.

Lindsay Parkhurst, R-Kankakee, is the state representative for the 79th House District.

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