While it was comical last week to watch Gov. Pat Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton stand together as Quinn vetoed the campaign finance legislation all of them endorsed, it was the right thing to do.

While it was comical last week to watch Gov. Pat Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton stand together as Quinn vetoed the campaign finance legislation all of them endorsed, it was the right thing to do.

It seems like we rarely get to say that about Illinois politicians. But the true test will be whether the three Chicago Democrats follow through and rework the ethics bill into something with teeth.

The General Assembly did a thorough job defusing the ethical land mines in the executive branch left by disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Truly addressing the weaknesses — potential and realized — in the legislative branch and in the state’s campaign finance system is now its task. That means legislators will have to write a law that changes how they do business.

Among the itemsthat need to be in such a bill:

_Apply campaign contribution limits on a per-cycle basis instead of an annual basis, as the vetoed bill did. Annual contribution limits protect incumbents seeking state Senate seats or statewide office.

This page favors allowing candidates, state parties and legislative caucus committees to raise a total of $10,000 from individuals, political action committees, unions and corporations during the primary and general election cycles combined.

_Enact a clear limit on how much legislative leaders can transfer or spend on their members’ races. The vetoed legislation had limits on transfers but gutted them in the very same bill by allowing unlimited expenditures on in-kind contributions. Whatever the limit, make it actually mean something.

_The vetoed bill failed to require disclosure of bundlers — the fundraisers who have become famous in federal campaign finance scandals. They scoop up a bunch of individual donations for candidates in the hope of getting favors later. Such a provision needs to be in any new bill as well as year-round disclosure within 48 hours of contributions of $1,000 or more.

Reform legislation with these provisions is something legislators could be proud of as they campaign in 2010.

State Journal-Register