August 27, 2009



To the Honorable Members of the Illinois House of Representatives,

96th General Assembly:


At the request of its proponents, I am today vetoing House Bill 7.  With this message, I return the legislation to the House of Representatives, its chamber of origin, determined that with the cooperation of the legislative leaders, the reform community, the members of the General Assembly and the people of Illinois, we can enact more comprehensive legislation limiting the amount of money that comes into political campaigns, and regulating the manner in which that money is spent. 


During the course of the past few months, concerned citizens and organizations have had an opportunity to scrutinize this bill intensely.  The reaction to the bill has been such that the leaders of each of the four caucuses—the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate, and the Republican leaders in each chamber—have requested that I veto this bill


In deference to the consensus request of the General Assembly, I am today formally transmitting this message of disapproval.  Let there be no mistake: I am taking this action with the firm conviction that beginning again with renewed urgency will prove to be the swiftest path to enacting robust campaign finance reform.  This veto begins the final stage of legislative action that will culminate in a campaign finance reform bill that will reshape our politics.


I would have preferred to see comprehensive campaign finance reform on the books at this point.  However, it is important to put the action I am taking today into its full and proper context.  This year has been, and will continue to be, a year for reshaping, reforming, and revitalizing Illinois with laws, rules, and regulations that implement the public’s demand for ethics and accountability in State Government.


These are unique circumstances.  I am vetoing a bill in support of which I have testified.  I would note that I was not alone in supporting this bill.  Apart from its legislative sponsors, other state officers lent their support.  And yet, in keeping with our democratic traditions, we have listened carefully to the will of the people.  Today’s action represents a good-faith effort to continue, with renewed urgency, our shared goal of reforming the way we conduct political campaigns.  I would not take this action if it would not lead to even stronger reforms.

     Therefore, in accordance with Article V, Section 9(b) of the Illinois Constitution, I hereby return House Bill 7 to the House of Representatives, from where it originated, vetoed in its entirety.