McDermed Introduces ‘Revolving Door’ Restrictions for Legislators

Springfield, IL… In light of yet another Illinois lawmaker leaving their post early for a lobbying firm, State Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) has filed legislation to address Illinois’ ‘revolving door’ problem. The legislation will ban lawmakers who resign from their post from taking a job as an Illinois lobbyist for the remainder of the term of office from which they resigned, or one year, whichever is longer.

“It is ethically dubious that Illinois allows lawmakers to essentially leave the capitol building where their name is on a plaque and then return the next week in a different capacity before the cleaning crew has even had time to remove it,” Rep. McDermed said. “Illinois has no shortage of ethics problems and faith in local and state government is at an all-time low. We need to do the right thing and address these serious holes in our ethics laws.”

Specifically, House Bill 879 provides that a General Assembly member may not be registered as a lobbyist, or make expenditures, receive compensation, or receive reimbursement for actual expenses for lobbying, within a period of one year immediately after termination of the member’s most recent term of office or for the remainder of the term of office from which the person resigned, whichever is longer. The past two years have seen a slew of retirements and resignations from House and Senate members, a number of whom have notably gone on to join lobbying firms, including most recently, former House Majority Leader Lou Lang. Illinois law restricts state employees from going to work for companies that do business with the state, but lawmakers are not considered state employees and thus have no restrictions that prevent them from becoming a lobbyist immediately upon leaving their elected positions. Illinois is one of only a handful of states that have no mandatory waiting period restrictions on the revolving door between lawmaker and lobbyist.