In July of 1850, Abraham Lincoln gave a speech where he advised a new class of attorneys to “be honest in all events.” It’s a simple principle and a basic standard we should expect from anyone who seeks or enters public office.

Illinois has consistently been ranked as one of — if not the most — corrupt state in the nation. The list of elected officials in our state that have been embroiled in ethical scandal is long, and the scandals are so outrageous that the names are still haunt Illinois’ reputation — names like Dan Rostenkowski, Dennis Hastert, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Betty Loren-Maltese, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, and Rod Blagojevich.

We deserve better. The future of our state depends on our resolve. A clean, ethical government is an effective and efficient government. Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike — join our nonpartisan effort to create a bright line of ethical conduct for all elected officials in Illinois.


Our Guiding Principles

BEFORE HOLDING PUBLIC OFFICE

  • The road to public office shouldn’t be paved by shady donations, quid pro quos, or shadowy conduct.

  • Candidates should be open and forthright about their positions on the issues.

  • They should strive to raise as much as they can from small dollar donors versus max out donors in order to grow a supporter base that is more representative of their community as a whole.

  • They should avoid producing manipulative mailers, ads, and other campaign materials that seek to deceive or mislead the public.

WHILE IN PUBLIC OFFICE

  • Public officials should at all times vote and act in the best interests of their constituents.

  • Yes, even if it is at odds with their personal, private interest.

  • They should avoid even the appearance of impropriety. If it doesn’t look good, it isn’t in the public good.

  • They should abhor ethical loopholes, not seek them out.

  • No public official should seek to privately profit off of or unfairly benefit from his or her position while in office.

AFTER LEAVING PUBLIC OFFICE

  • Public officials should refrain from selling their insider knowledge upon leaving office to the highest bidder.

Our Policy Proposals

To truly change the culture of corruption throughout our state, we need tough, clear laws and regulations with meaningful enforcement actions.

BEFORE HOLDING PUBLIC OFFICE

  • Candidates, campaigns, and political action committees should disclose all donors in a timely fashion, including bundlers.
  • Local governments and the state of Illinois should adopt campaign finance reform in the form of a small donor matching program or a voucher program in order to grow the state’s donor pool and bring more diverse voices into the political and campaign process.
  • Candidates, campaigns, and political action committees should be banned from creating deepfake media or any other digitally deceptive materials.

WHILE IN PUBLIC OFFICE

  • Elected and appointed officials should be banned from paid lobbying in any form, at any level of government, in front of any government body.
  • Conflict of interest recusal should be mandatory, with meaningful penalties for refusal to recuse.
  • The Legislative Inspector General should be empowered to be a truly independent investigative body, including having the power to open and pursue investigations, to subpoena witnesses and evidence, and to make public recommendations.
  • The Legislative Ethics Commission should similarly be empowered to properly root out corruption, via an expanded scope of authority and jurisdiction.
  • Make reporting alleged ethical violations easier.

AFTER LEAVING PUBLIC OFFICE

  • At least two year ban on paid lobbying

To read a detailed description of each of these proposals, download our Lincoln Line Campaign Guide here.

Next Campaign

Fighting for a Fair Map