Illinois Democrats Violated House Rules to Advance Obama Presidential Library

Illinois House Democrats violated their own House Rules Thursday by voting on behalf of five legislators not in attendance at a hearing on legislation that would provide $100 million in taxpayer funds towards construction of the proposed Obama Presidential Library in Chicago.

“I’m not even a member of the Executive Committee and the Democrats chose to vote on my behalf, which is a blatant violation of House Rules,” said Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon). “This is typical Chicago politics at work. My constituents elected me to vote for them. They didn’t elect the Chicago politicians who stole my vote today.”

On Wednesday, April 16th State Representative Dwight Kay served as a temporary replacement on the House Executive Committee for a hearing in Chicago to discuss gaming expansion in Illinois. Rep. Kay participated in the hearing to express his opposition to an amendment which would exclude Fairmount Race Track from the proposed gaming expansion. After the hearing, Kay traveled back to his legislative district nearly 300 miles south of Chicago and was no longer a substituted member on the Executive Committee. Therefore, he was not present at Thursday’s recessed hearing to vote on the legislation to spend $100 million in public funds on the Obama Presidential Library.

Rep. Kay added, “The Chicago Democrats knew I wouldn’t support spending $100 million that we don’t have on a Presidential Library, so they decided to violate their own Rules and cast my vote anyways. We need to pay our bills owed to schools, doctors, hospitals and pay Illinois residents’ tax returns before we spend $100 million on a library that can easily be built with private funds.”

House Democrats violated their own rules by breaking House Rule 21, which is the only reference in the Rules that authorizes actions by recessed committees, and it simply allows the agenda (posted legislative measures) to be considered at the recessed hearing, as long as the House continues to be in session. The House was not in session this week. Furthermore, House Rule 49 provides that no member of a committee may vote except in person at the time of the call of the vote. Therefore, calling a vote on House Bill 6010 and voting on behalf of legislators not present were clear violations of House Rules.

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