Governor Pat Quinn is the latest Illinois official to disclose his tax returns. They show he paid about 29 thousand dollars in federal taxes, and 77-hundred dollars in taxes to the state. But a lot of information about politicians' finances can remain hidden. There's no law requiring politicians make their tax returns public, though they often do. Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon says that's a positive thing, but it doesn't go far enough. By law, elected officials in Illinois do have to file Statements of Economic Interest. But the forms are notoriously vague and often reveal little.
Simon's behind an initiative to redo them:
"We really want to know where the sources of money that you have, that your spouse has, that might make it a conflict for you to vote on a measure, advocate for a measure."
The legislation easily passed the Senate, but that was last May. It's stalled in the House, where negotiations are ongoing, but prospects for it to be done this spring appear dim.
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