BGA: Elected leaders averse to watchdog group oversight
The Chicago-based Better Government Association (BGA) watchdog group recently shared its viewpoint via an online article that Illinois government leaders practice a strong avoidance of organizations — such as itself — that are equipped to expose accountability.
Describing the perceived bureaucratic aversion as resistance of “the bright light (which) tough ethics watchdogs shine on them,” BGA illustrated its perspective with concrete examples, focusing on a national event positively impacted by an Illinois congressman.
Most recently, it pointed out, a group of Republicans in the U.S. Congress abandoned a “secret” campaign to eliminate the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) due to media exposure and subsequent public disapproval — including a tweet from President Donald Trump.
“It is shameful that House Republicans are seeking to enhance one-party rule by undermining this nonpartisan panel through a secret Caucus vote held behind closed doors,” Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-05) said in a press release issued Jan. 3.
While expressing satisfaction at the outcome on the national level, BGA stressed that state matters nevertheless remain paramount, requiring vigilance. It also suggested that government entities would do better to fund, install and authorize watchdogs of their own to increase accountability and public trust.
“It’s time for top officials in Chicago, the suburbs and Springfield to equip their internal watchdogs with the tools they need to bark loudly and bite when necessary,” the association concluded. “But, realistically, that will only happen if reform-minded citizens do some loud barking of their own.”
The watchdog group commended Quigley — a Democrat representing the Chicago area with “stellar reform credentials” — for keeping his eyes peeled.
A member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Quigley previously proved his mettle by pushing for LGBTQ rights as well as demanding exposure of Russian intervention in the U.S. election beginning in late 2016.
“We must continue to shine a light on the halls of our government so that we do not return to darker days plagued by unreported scandals and overlooked ethics issues that weaken our democratic institutions,” Quigley said in his press release.