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August 26, 2003

Governor signs corporate responsibility bill
Law drafted by Comptroller Hynes bars corporate felons from securing state contracts

(Mount Vernon) – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich Tuesday signed legislation drafted by Comptroller Dan Hynes that bars corporations involved in financial crimes from getting state contracts.


“The people of Illinois deserve integrity and accountability, both in government and the corporate world. This bill is an important step in regaining that trust,” said Governor Blagojevich.


“With the signing of this bill, white collar crooks can forget about getting state business,” said Hynes. “Corporations that cook their books, spread misleading information and obstruct an investigation of wrongdoing will be barred from getting state contracts.”


The bill prohibits businesses from bidding on state contracts for at least five years, when one of its officers, directors, partners, or other agents has been found guilty of a financial-related crime that results in a felony conviction against the business or payment of punitive damages by the business.


Also, every bid submitted will be required to contain a certification by the bidder or contractor that they meet the conditions of the corporate responsibility law. Under terms of the law, the state will also be allowed to void the contract if the declaration is false.


Previous law allowed a business to enter into a contract with the state even after a high ranking official had been convicted of a felony, so long as the official was no longer associated with the business. That was true even if the business itself was convicted of a felony. Under the new law, that will not be allowed.


“What we have seen happen at several large corporations and accounting firms is a disgrace that has caused untold financial damage to thousands of investors and employees,” said Hynes. “This bill insures that businesses that operate in a similarly irresponsible fashion can’t then stick their hand out and get a state contract.” 


Sen. Vince Demuzio, (D-Carlinville) and Rep. Jack Franks, (D-Woodstock) sponsored the bill, which is modeled after the successful debt certification “deadbeat” law that Hynes crafted last year. Under that law, companies that owe money to the state are barred from doing business with the state.

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