Monday afternoon the Illinois Senate did what, just a week ago, seemed to be the impossible: they approved the state ethics bill. The legislation, which passed 55-0, prohibits those who have $50,000 or more worth of business with the state from making contributions to individuals running for statewide office. Just as the House did earlier this month, the Senate overrode the governor's attempts to insert additional conditions to the bill, which were largely aimed at lawmakers. Critics claimed that Blago used his amendatory veto authority to kill the bill. the passage comes just a short time after Senator (and presidential candidate) Barack Obama persuaded his former colleague, State Senate President Emil Jones, to address the issue promptly; the bill becomes law in January.
While Blagojevich was pushing for stricter ethics regulations in the state, it turns out his campaign was still holding onto $65,000 given by former Illinois Finance Authority chief Ali Ata, who pleaded guilty to felony charges earlier this year. “I learned about that today,” Blagojevich told the Sun-Times. “I was told about that. We’re going to look into that.” When pressed on the matter, Blagojevich said “I didn’t pay attention...We’re going to work through the process and sort it out.”
Photo by Genevieve Elise