September 27, 2018 •

IL Court Upholds Cook County Campaign Restrictions

The Illinois First District Appellate Court upheld Cook County’s ethics ordinance restricting political contributions from persons seeking official action from the county. Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios challenged the rule earlier this year after the County Board of Ethics fined […]

The Illinois First District Appellate Court upheld Cook County’s ethics ordinance restricting political contributions from persons seeking official action from the county.

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios challenged the rule earlier this year after the County Board of Ethics fined Berrios for receiving contributions over the $750 limit.

The court ruled self-funding candidates donating over $100,000 to their own campaign only lifted state contribution limits and did not affect any locally imposed limits set by the county.

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March 15, 2018 •

Circuit Court Upholds Cook County Pay-to-play Restrictions

The Cook County Circuit Court upheld county pay-to-play limits on Tuesday, ruling against County Assessor Joseph Berrios. Berrios challenged the county’s campaign contribution limits for those who have sought official action from the county as unconstitutional. He also argued only […]

The Cook County Circuit Court upheld county pay-to-play limits on Tuesday, ruling against County Assessor Joseph Berrios.

Berrios challenged the county’s campaign contribution limits for those who have sought official action from the county as unconstitutional. He also argued only the state Legislature has the authority to set contribution limits; Judge Sanjay Tailor disagreed.

Local governments are permitted to enact laws governing campaign finance, provided they do not interfere with voter registration and election mechanics.

Berrios is expected to appeal.

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March 1, 2018 •

Candidate Asking Court to Void Cook County Pay-to-Play Limits

Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios is asking Circuit Court Judge Sanjay Tailor to void the county’s pay-to-play provisions. Current ethics rules limit campaign contributions from those who seek official action from the county. Berrios argues only the state has the […]

Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios is asking Circuit Court Judge Sanjay Tailor to void the county’s pay-to-play provisions. Current ethics rules limit campaign contributions from those who seek official action from the county.

Berrios argues only the state has the authority to limit campaign contributions, while the county maintains it is permitted to set more-restrictive limits to avoid impropriety.

Berrios was fined $41,000 in January (after receiving warnings from the Board of Ethics last summer) for taking 41 contributions exceeding pay-to-play limits from property tax appeal lawyers affected by the decisions of his office.

As he waits for a court ruling, Berrios continues to accept contributions exceeding county limits.

Pictured: Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios

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September 11, 2014 •

Cook County Board Bans Lobbyist Activity During Public Meetings

The Cook County Board of Commissioners passed a new ordinance banning registered lobbyists from attempting to communicate with commissioners, for purposes of discussing any matter of county business, while the commissioners are present on the floor during public meetings. The […]

Cook CountyThe Cook County Board of Commissioners passed a new ordinance banning registered lobbyists from attempting to communicate with commissioners, for purposes of discussing any matter of county business, while the commissioners are present on the floor during public meetings.

The ordinance does not affect lobbying outside of county chambers or lobbying in the boardroom after a meeting is brought to a close.

Moreover, the new rule applies only to registered lobbyists, and makes no mention of those engaged in lobbying activity who are not yet registered with the county.

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August 3, 2010 •

Cook County Introduces Lobbyist Disclosure Web Site

Illinois residents can now find out who is trying to influence county government with the click of a mouse.

County Clerk David Orr and Commissioner Bridget Gainer announced “Lobbyist Online,” a searchable database of lobbyists and lobbying activity in Cook County. This Web site allows users to find out who is lobbying county government, what they are promoting, who they are trying to influence, and how much money they make. This site comes on the heels of a newly implemented electronic lobbyist registration and reporting system.

Orr’s office reported lobbyists made 576 contacts seeking to influence nearly 60 county officials during the first half of 2010.

Here is the Cook County Clerk Web site with a link to the Lobbyist Online database.

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