Reform Legislation Aims To Rein In Political Influence Of Government Unions; Level Playing Field With Private Sector And Advocacy Groups

Will Close Loophole That Allows Unions To Fund Campaigns Of Politicians Who Negotiate Their Contracts

SPRINGFIELD, IL–In an effort to further reduce the conflict of interest between politicians and special interests doing business with their offices, legislation was introduced to prevent government employee unions from donating funds to candidates who may end up negotiating with them for raises and increased benefits.

The legislation, SB 2988, sponsored by State Senator Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), was developed in conjunction with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity, a free-market advocacy group.

It will apply the same restrictions on donations that were enacted two years ago for private companies that do business with state agencies. A vendor that does over $50,000 of business with the state is now prohibited from donating any funds to a candidate who may oversee that company’s contract. However, a loophole was left in the 2010 bill to allow government unions that negotiate employee contracts worth hundreds of millions to continue to donate huge amounts to politicians in charge of those contracts.

“If a company that sells the state copiers can’t donate because it creates a conflict, how can you possibly allow unions negotiating these huge contracts to influence the politicians that approve these contracts,” said Murphy.

“The need for reform in Illinois is unquestioned,” said Todd Maisch, Vice -President of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. “But to leave this huge loophole for a favored special interest like government unions, just makes the system look even more corrupt.”

“Government officials need to be squarely focused on protecting taxpayers when they negotiate labor contracts, not conflicted by the demands of unions that helped elect them,” said David From, State Director for Americans for Prosperity.

Murphy added that the legislation in no way represents a limit on the rights of unions. “Union members and leaders can still support candidates. This legislation merely levels the playing field by curbing conflicts of interests across the board,” he said. “For the sake of our state’s fiscal future, we have to take politics out of labor contracts and start to focus on the financial interests of the taxpayers.”