Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

After Obama call, Emil Jones decides to free Illinois Senate ethics measure he held hostage.

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WASHINGTON--The Illinois Senate will get back to work on an ethics measure, the day after Barack Obama called to prod his political godfather, Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, who was holding the bill hostage. Jones was content to let it die from inaction.

"I plan to call the Senate back into session to deal with the issue of ethics only at the request of my friend Barack Obama," Jones said in a statement released Thursday.

It's rare for Obama to use his political muscle to help clean up the ethics challenged Illinois political environment, either on the state or local level. Obama is making ethics a centerpiece of his presidential campaign. While he has worked to pass tougher ethics rules in the Illinois Senate and the U.S. Senate, he has very rarely used his bully pulpit to comment on any assortment of scandals stemming from Chicago's City Hall or Springfield.

The call to Jones came after my colleague, Dave McKinney, the Sun-Times Springfield bureau chief, wrote about the impending death of the bill.

McKinney reported how a good government activist suggested Obama should help and how Obama's campaign ducked questions from the Chicago Sun-Times about whether Obama should intervene to save the ethics bill.

Obama made the right call. Jones, who is going to retire soon, was easily pressured to call the Illinois Senate back to work.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on September 18, 2008 2:00 PM.

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