Lt. Governor Simon leads by example when it comes to open, honest public service. Each spring, she and her senior staff release personal financial statements that go above and beyond what is required by law. The disclosures empower the public to learn if these officials are serving taxpayers’ interests, or if they harbor any conflicts of interest.
Transparency and Accountability
Under the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act
, constitutional officers, elected officials and certain high-ranking public employees are required to file an annual Statement of Economic Interest (SEI) each May. The forms are supposed to expose existing or potential conflicts of interest, but the documents use such vague and cumbersome language that the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform has called them “woefully inadequate” and “a waste of paper.” Lt. Governor Simon is leading a SEI working group to pinpoint the problems and to introduce new language that will make them more meaningful for the public. The group includes representatives from good government groups, state and county agencies and volunteer legal counsel from The John Marshall Law School.
Prior to her service as Lt. Governor, Simon served on the Illinois Reform Commission (IRC), a 15-member panel created in the wake of former Governor Blagojevich’s arrest that aimed to clean up state government. The IRC issued a report in April 2009 with recommendations on a wide range of ethics reforms. As a result, state lawmakers passed stronger campaign finance and freedom of information laws. But the Lt. Governor does not want to stop there. She is working with volunteer legal experts to prepare the next wave of government ethics legislation and continuing the Reform Commission’s fight against the corruption and cynicism that undermines public trust in government.