(Springfield, IL) — January 20, 2011. State Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Hoffman Estates) has introduced legislation that aims to kick elected officials out of lucrative government lobbying jobs, jeopardizing the work of a prominent Cook County official.
The measure, House Bill 217, would prohibit persons required to register as a lobbyist from holding an elective state or local office and ban sitting elected state or local officials from lobbying.
Up until December 15, 2010, newly inaugurated Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, who is also the Cook County Democratic Party Chairman, was one of the most prominent of Illinois registered lobbyist-elected officials, serving as a member of the powerful Cook County Board of Review while lobbying in Springfield.
In the Assessor 2010 general election campaign, Berrios came under fire from opponent Forrest Claypool over his simultaneous lobbying and government and party jobs.
Current Cook County Commissioner Lawrence Suffredin, a Claypool-ally, is a currently registered lobbyist in Springfield, and he would be stripped of that lobbying gig were Crespo’s bill to become law. Crespo’s bill puts Suffredin, a noted reformer, in a tough spot. Does he back bill the bill and risk his lobbying practice or oppose the measure and risk his reformer reputation?