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Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Revolving Door Even Before Leaving Office

In Illinois, at least as late as 2011, Illinois and local legislators can use their position to benefit paying clients. According to the New York Times, fourteen elected officials in Cook County, where Chicago is located, were registered as lobbyists in the 2009-2011 period and had clients who did received government contracts in Illinois. Rep. Fred Crespo observes, “When I see them [the law makers] at a hearing in the Capitol, I often can’t tell of they’re here for their constituents or for their paying clients.” According to the Times, legislators in Illinois “can legally vote and otherwise act on matters that directly benefit their lobbying clients.” As this involves a conflict of interest, which is inherently unethical, this case demonstrates for us the contention of ethicists that ethics as a field is distinct from law.

The full essay is at Institutional Conflicts of Interest, available in print and as an ebook at Amazon.