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Devore: Pritzker Providing Gifts to State Employees in Violation of the Gift Ban Act

September 9, 2022 – JB Pritzker has been personally gifting $1.5 million a year to the top 15 employees of his administration. The Governor’s office has created a false narrative by suggesting he’s merely supplementing these state employees taxpayer funded salaries. This characterization is a red herring meant to distract the public from questioning what are otherwise illegal gifts from a private source to state employees.  

Attorney General Candidate Thomas Devore, issued a statement today, saying these gifts are unlawful as they are provided to state employees from a prohibited source and raise significant conflicts of interest and loyalty issues for these employees which is what the law is intended to deter.  JB Pritzker being Governor is a fact that must be disregarded in the analysis and the Office Executive Inspector General should open an investigation into these gifts immediately.  

“These top 15 employees receive money from a private company owned and controlled by JB Pritzker. The state employees provide no service to this private entity and as such these payments can be construed as nothing more than a gift.  Self-serving labels placed on the payments by Pritzker does not change their legal nature.” 

“Given these payments are a gift, the only question remaining is whether they are from a prohibited source. Illinois law defines a prohibited source to include any person who  1) does or seeks to do state business with the recipient or the recipient’s agency; as well as those who  2) have interests that may be substantially affected by the recipient’s official duties.”

“It is not even a question as to whether JB Pritzker does business with the state and its agencies.  He has admitted to receiving billions of dollars in state contracts which are controlled by his administrative agencies.  Furthermore, Pritzker’s personal, political and financial interests are substantially affected by the official duties of these state employees receiving these gifts. For these reasons, JB Pritzker is a prohibited source under Illinois law.”

“Just imagine for one second that JB Pritzker was not the Governor of the State of Illinois and he was making these gifts to state employees?  The unlawfulness of the gifts would be woefully apparent and people would be screaming from the rooftop.  His current position as a public official does not alter the legal analysis as to the use of his private resources being gifted to state employees.”  

When a prohibited source makes gifts to state employees, they are no longer state employees working for the interests of the people. They are state employees who may become beholden to the interests of those providing these gifts.  Whose interests do these state employees put first? J.B. Pritzker’s private interests, his business interests, his political interests, or the interests of the people of Illinois who pay them for their services at an amount already deemed sufficient by the legislature? 

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