SPRINGFIELD — It didn’t take long for the revolving door at the Capitol to start spinning at the end of the lame-duck session.

A day after he served his final day in office, former state Sen. John Millner, a Carol Stream Republican, registered to become a lobbyist.

Millner, who had been a member of the General Assembly for 10 years, has picked up two clients thus far: the cable TV industry and an ambulance service.

Millner is just the latest lawmaker to turn into a lobbyist virtually overnight. Records on file with the Illinois Secretary of State show more than two dozen former legislators are trying to use their influence in the hallways and offices of the Capitol.

Illinois is among 15 states that have no revolving-door provisions for lawmakers, who can be negotiating legislation on behalf of their constituents on one day and then use that expertise to work for a deep-pocketed industry trade group the next.

Most states have imposed cooling-off periods ranging from six months to two years.

In March, Democrats who control the General Assembly blocked legislation that would have imposed a year-long lobbying ban for lawmakers after they leave office.

State Sen. Darin LaHood, R-Dunlap, had sought to impose the ban to ensure members of the General Assembly aren’t cashing in on their positions by taking lucrative lobbying gigs with organizations or companies.

LaHood said lawmakers should do as much as they can to help repair Illinois’ ethically challenged political environment.

“This seems like a very common-sense baby-step to take,” LaHood said Thursday.

LaHood plans to introduce the legislation again this spring, but it remains unclear whether the idea will gain any traction in this year’s legislative session.

Although Millner is the latest lawmaker to cross over into lobbying, he is not the first.

State Rep. Kent Gaffney, a Lake Barrington Republican, filed to become a lobbyist on Jan. 7 after giving up his seat in the House. He’ll work for a lobbying firm that has clients including Verizon, Apple, PNC Bank and Illinois State University.

Other former lawmakers who were registered as lobbyists in 2012 include former Senate Minority Leader Frank Watson, R-Greenville, former state Rep. Julie Curry, D-Decatur, former state Sen. Denny Jacobs, D-East Moline, and former state Rep. Dan Reitz, D-Steeleville.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.