Lawmakers Say Tollway Ads Go against New Ethics Laws

Article excerpt

Byline: John Patterson Daily Herald State Government Editor

SPRINGFIELD - Two suburban lawmakers are questioning why a recent ad touting tollway expansion plans seems to praise Gov. Rod Blagojevich as much as the tollway improvement.

They say it, and another pro-Blagojevich ad, fly in the face of new ethics laws. A Blagojevich spokeswoman said the ethics law has nothing to do with private sector ads and noted Republicans weren't raising a fuss when similar ads criticized the governor earlier this year.

The recent tollway radio ad was paid for by the Chicago Federation of Labor and repeatedly mentions Blagojevich. A second ad touting improvements to state health care programs was sponsored by Osco drug stores and heaps praise on the "governor."

New state ethics laws forbid the name, image or voice of state officials from being in public service announcements or ads on behalf of a state-administered program.

"We would argue that, even if these two radio advertisements are technically legal, they clearly fly in the face of the spirit of (the ethics law)," Republican state Sens. …