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Rauner signs executive order addressing ethics of employees

SPRINGFIELD – On his second day in office, Gov. Bruce Rauner signed an executive order tightening requirements for all state employees to ensure they adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity and impartiality.

“Business as usual is over in Illinois and we need to regain the trust of the taxpayers,” Rauner said. “Today, we are showing the State of Illinois we have learned our lessons and are changing.”

Executive Order 15-09 bans “the revolving door” of executive branch and state agency employees from negotiating for a new position with a lobbyist or lobbying entity while employed, he said. It also restricts former employees from accepting positions as a paid lobbyist or with a lobbying entity for one year after leaving their position.

It also further restricts gifts from prohibited sources by state employees, their spouse, or immediate family members living with that employee. They are not allowed to solicit or knowingly accept any gift from those sources.

The order expands what state employees must disclose on their statement of economic interests, which is already required under state law. State employees now must identify if they, their spouse or children under 18 have more than a 5 percent interest in a property in which the state is a tenant, lessor, or other interest in the property.

Those same people must also disclose, regardless if they are paid or not, any non-governmental positions that they hold. These positions may be with business entities, non-profit organizations, labor groups, educational institutions, and any other type of entity.

Also, state employees, their spouse, and any children under the age of 18 must disclose any ongoing litigation in which they are a named party with the State of Illinois. They also must disclose if they have any financial interests in lawsuits against the state.

The order also requires full cooperation with the Special Master appointed by the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois to investigate any hiring practices within state agencies.

State agencies will now be required to have all employment contracts reviewed and approved by the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. The order also instructs the budget office to conduct a thorough review of employment contracts within the state to identify political, wasteful or other improper purposes.

“The State of Illinois needs to rebuild its trust with its citizens, and today’s executive order takes steps to ensure that starts now,” Rauner said. “We have a moral obligation to rebuild the reputation within our state, along with our perception within the country, to ultimately renew taxpayers’ faith in government.”

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