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Stein v. Howlett

OPINION FILED SEPTEMBER 20, 1972.

J.G. STEIN, APPELLEE,

v.

MICHAEL J. HOWLETT, AUDITOR OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS, ET AL., APPELLANTS.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. DANIEL A. COVELLI, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE DAVIS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied November 29, 1972.

The issue in this case is the constitutionality of the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act, as amended by House Bill 3700 of the 77th General Assembly (P.A. 77-1806), effective January 24, 1972. (Supp. to Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 127, par. 601-101 et seq.) The trial court held the Act unconstitutional and the defendants appealed directly to this court pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 302(a). Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 110A, par. 302(a).

The plaintiff challenges the constitutionality of the amended Act, herein called the Ethics Act, on the following grounds: (1) that it is an unconstitutional invasion of the right of privacy, (2) that it unduly restricts the right to seek and hold office, (3) that it is overbroad and unconstitutionally vague, (4) that it discriminates between persons of the same class, (5) that it goes beyond the limitations prescribed by section 2 of article XIII of the 1970 Illinois constitution and violates the doctrine of separation of powers among the branches of the government, (6) that it contains more than one subject, (7) that it purports to specify a penalty in addition to that provided by the constitution and that the constitutional penalty cannot be changed by the legislature, (8) that it violates section 2 of article XIII of the constitution in that it excludes from disclosure, assets and income most likely to produce conflicts of interest, i.e., campaign receipts, (9) that the law is ex post facto because officials who were elected prior to July 1, 1972, are required to meet qualifications which did not exist when they were elected, and (10) that it delegates to the Secretary of State the power to render advisory opinions and to hire private attorneys to assist him in so doing in violation of the constitution.

The confirmation of the right of privacy as a constitutional right is found in section 6 of article I of the 1970 constitution which expressly states, for the first time in our State charters, that people "have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and other possessions against * * * invasions of privacy * * *." (Italics ours.) No limiting definition of the type of privacy is stated in the constitution.

Specifically, the plaintiff complains that the Ethics Act is too broad and is an unjust encroachment upon the right of privacy because section 4A-102 requires certain disclosures. It provides:

"The statement of economic interests required by this Article shall include the economic interests of the person making the statement as provided in this Section. The interest (if constructively controlled by the person making the statement) of a spouse or any other party, shall be considered to be the same as the interest of the person making the statement. Campaign receipts shall not be included is this statement.

(a) The following interests shall be listed by all persons required to file:

(1) The name, address and type of practice of any professional organization or individual professional practice in which the person making the statement was an officer, director, associate, partner or proprietor, or served in any advisory capacity, from which income in excess of $1200 was derived during the preceding calendar year;

(2) The nature of professional services (other than services rendered to the unit of government in relation to which the person is required to file) and the nature of the entity to which they were rendered if fees exceeding $5,000 were received during the preceding calendar year from the entity for professional services rendered by the person making the statement.

(3) The identity (including the address or legal description of real estate) of any capital asset from which a capital gain of $5,000 or more was realized in the preceding calendar year.

(4) The name of any unit of government which has employed the person making the statement during the preceding calendar year other than the unit of government in relation to which the person is required to file.

(5) The name of any entity from which a gift or gifts, or honorarium or honoraria, valued singly or in the aggregate in excess of $500, was received during the preceding calendar year.

(b) The following interests shall also be listed by persons listed in items (a) through (f) of Section 4A-101.

(1) The name and instrument of ownership in any entity doing business in the State of Illinois, in which an ownership interest held by the person at the date of filing is in excess of $5,000 fair market value or from which dividends of in excess of $1,200 were derived during the preceding calendar year. (In the case of real estate, location thereof shall be listed by street address, or if none, then by legal description). No time or demand deposit in a financial institution, nor any debt instrument need be listed;

(2) Except for professional service entities, the name of any entity and any position held therein from which income of in excess of $1,200 was derived during the preceding calendar year, if the entity does business in the State of Illinois. No time or demand deposit in a financial institution, nor any debt instrument need be listed.

(3) The identity of any compensated lobbyist with whom the person making the statement maintains a close economic association, including the name of the lobbyist and specifying the legislative matter or matters which are the object of the lobbying activity, and describing the general type of economic ...


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