Proposal Would Put Limits On Campaigning

Apr 22, 2015

Sen. Darin LaHood talks about the amendment to Senate Bill 1058 with Sen. Jason Barickman.
Credit Lisa Ryan/WUIS

A measure in the Illinois Senate would prevent elected officials from promoting new programs and grants before an election.

The proposal is in response to an audit of the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative or NRI. Former Gov. Pat Quinn started the $50 million anti-violence program shortly before the 2010 election.

Republican Sen. Darin LaHood calls the program a "failure." He, along with the auditor general, say the program lacked proper oversight.

"How do we make government and this program more effective, efficient, accountable and ethically sound?" he asked.

LaHood says the answer is preventing elected officials from making announcements about programs and grants awarded by a state agency less than two months before an election.

Sen.Jason Barickman, a Republican from Bloomington, says former Gov. Pat Quinn used the NRI as a campaign tool in 2010.

"This legislation will hopefully prevent the abuse that's occurred before, and from taxpayers' perspective, we hope to begin to restore some of their confidence in the government that is overseeing these types of programs," he said.

Quinn admitted problems within the NRI, but denied using it as an election year gimmick.

The ban excludes Chicago because it would only pertain to non-home rule cities.