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Illinois Lt. Gov. won't let lobbyists pick up her lunch tab 

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 20, 2011
By Hannah Hess

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Lt. Gov Sheila Simon won't let lobbyists pick up the tab for her meals and expects her seven employees to follow the same protocol.

"We pay for our own lunch," Simon said Thursday, announcing her first official after taking oath last week.

Simon, a Democrat, encouraged fellow state officers to turn down free meals and refuse campaign contributions from state employees. In addition to free food, the act prohibits her campaign fund from accepting money donated by constitutional officers and their employees.

She also invited state officials to follow her lead in disclosing their personal finances.

According to documents released Thursday, Simon and her husband, Perry A. Knop, have a net worth of $586,709.

Simon earned almost $36,000 as a law professor at Southern Illinois University last year, before taking leave to run for state office. Banjo performances with her bluegrass band, Loose Gravel, brought in an additional $500.

Simon recalled that her late father, U.S. Sen. Paul Simon, was also fastidious about revealing the family finances. His figures included income from her teenage babysitting jobs.

"Ethics and reform are something that you always have to stay after," Simon said.

Her goals for the next four years, she said, include continued pressure on campaign finance reform and transparency.