Honorable Members of the Illinois House of Representatives,
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
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.