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Public Statements

Issue Position: Cleaning Up State Government

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Blagojevich

Jack Franks is committed to standing up for responsible and ethical government, even if that means taking a stand against those in his own party. Franks was the first Democrat to speak out against former Governor Rod Blagojevich and reveal many of the abuses of power on which Blagojevich was impeached through hearings he held as Chair of the State Government Administration Committee. Franks then sat on a special committee to investigate Blagojevich's impeachment. Franks secured the first-ever audit of a sitting governor, which revealed Blagojevich had spent more than $1 million in unnecessary and unusable flu vaccines. Later, Franks requested the inspector general audit which uncovered that the Department of Economic Opportunity awarded a $1 million grant for Loop Lab School, which at the time was not registered with the State Board of Education and had no students, no faculty, and no assets. Because of Franks' efforts, the state is in the process of recouping its money.

Throughout the Blagojevich impeachment trial, Franks was revered as an expert on government ethics and how Illinois could repair the damage done by the Blagojevich Administration. In 2009, he was asked by the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws to be a keynote speaker at its annual convention. Frank discussed "The Anatomy of a Downfall," which detailed the ethical blunders of the Blagojevich Administration.

Corruption

In light of the grave abuses of power by the Blagojevich Administration and the Ryan Administration, Franks succeeded in the bringing the issue of recall to the attention of the voters. This November, voters will weigh in on whether they want to amend the state constitution to include a recall provision, which would be similar to that of California. Franks believes elected officials should be held accountable every day, not only on Election Day, and a recall provision would demand accountability. This is the first constitutional amendment to be put to the voters in more than a decade.

In response to Blagojevich's post-impeachment antics, Franks passed the Elected Officials Misconduct Forfeiture Act. The Act forces any elected public official convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving a violation of his or her oath of office to forfeit any profits derived from his or her notoriety as a corrupt public official. The bill encompasses all proceeds from any medium that aims to depict or detail the crime for which the elected official was convicted. The former elected official will be forced to forfeit any monetary gains derived from such a deal, as part of his or her sentence, to the state of Illinois. More recently, the Franks co-sponsored the Public Corruption Forfeiture Act, which expands his original law to include any goods, property or ownership interests criminally obtained.

Transparency

Franks co-sponsored legislation to strengthen the public's access government information through Freedom of Information Act requests. The legislation made the gubernatorial appointment process for state boards, commissions, authorities, and task forces more stringent, more transparent and made teachers more accountable for student performance in schools.

Franks also co-sponsored legislation which established the Illinois Accountability Portal. The Portal is a website that provides direct access to information concerning state employees and individual consultants, state expenditures, state tax credits, state contracts, and revocations and suspensions of occupation, and use tax certificates of registration and professional licenses. Additionally, Franks introduced legislation that would have made ethics violation investigation reports done by the Inspector General available to the public.


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