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People Ex Rel. Downs v. Adams

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 18, 1974.

THE PEOPLE EX REL. ROBERT K. DOWNS ET AL., APPELLEES,

v.

DONALD ADAMS ET AL., APPELLANTS.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County; the Hon. J. Waldo Ackerman, Judge, presiding. MR. JUSTICE SCHAEFER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This case involves the construction of article 4A of the Governmental Ethics Act. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 127, pars. 604A-101 through 604A-107.) The controversy arose when the defendants, who constitute the State Board of Elections, refused to certify the plaintiff, Robert K. Downs, and the intervening plaintiff, Ronald A. Stearney, as the duly nominated candidates of their respective parties for the office of Representative in the General Assembly at the November 1974 election. Each of the plaintiffs had filed a statement of economic interest at the time his nomination papers were filed in December of 1973 for the March 19, 1974, primary election. Each was nominated at that election, but because they did not thereafter file another statement of economic interest on or before April 30, 1974, the Board refused to certify their names for inclusion on the ballot at the November election. Apparently the Board's interpretation of the statute would also have had the effect of barring from the ballot the names of several hundred nonincumbent nominees for various State and local government offices.

The circuit court granted the plaintiffs' petition for a writ of mandamus to compel the Board to certify them. The Board appealed, and the case was brought to this court under Rule 302(b). An expedited briefing schedule was fixed, the case was taken on briefs without oral argument, and the judgment was affirmed on September 5, 1974. This opinion states the reasons for that decision.

Article 4A of the Act is concerned with the filing of "Statements of Economic Interests" by the following classes of persons enumerated in section 4A-101:

"(a) Members of the General Assembly and candidates for nomination or election to the General Assembly;

(b) Persons holding an elected office in the Executive Branch of this State or on the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, and candidates for nomination or election to these offices;

(c) Members of a Commission or Board created by the Illinois Constitution, and candidates for nomination or election to such Commission or Board;

(d) Persons whose appointment to office is subject to confirmation by the Senate;

(e) Holders of, and candidates for nomination or election to, the office of judge or associate judge of the Circuit Court and the office of judge of the Appellate or Supreme Court;

(f) Persons * * * who are compensated for services to the State as employees * * * at the rate of $20,000 per year or more * * *;

(g) Persons who are elected to an office in a school district or in a unit of local government as defined by the Illinois Constitution, and candidates for nomination or election to such office;

(h) Persons appointed to the governing board of a school district or of a special district and persons appointed to a zoning board, or zoning board of appeals, or to a regional, county or municipal plan commission;

(i) Persons who are employed by a school district or by any unit of local government as defined by the Illinois Constitution, and are compensated for services as employees * * * at the rate of $20,000 or more * * *." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 127, par. 604A-101.

Section 4A-102 describes the kinds of interests that are required to be listed in statements of economic interest. The two following descriptions are pertinent to the issue in this case:

"(b)(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 ...


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