October 15, 2014 •

Contribution Limits Lifted in Chicago Mayoral Race

The campaign contribution limits have been lifted for candidates in the Chicago mayoral race. Under state law, the limits are lifted for all candidates in a local race once a candidate in said race exceeds $100,000 in contributions to his […]

Chicago City SealThe campaign contribution limits have been lifted for candidates in the Chicago mayoral race. Under state law, the limits are lifted for all candidates in a local race once a candidate in said race exceeds $100,000 in contributions to his own campaign within a year of the election.

Conservative candidate William J. Kelly reached the $100,000 threshold on Monday. This is seemingly good news for Rahm Emanuel, who will now be able to go back to wealthy supporters to add to his campaign war chest.

Kelly argues lifting the caps does not help his opponent, however, as Emanuel already has all the money he needs. Kelly contends the playing field has been leveled as anti-Emanuel groups are now free to contribute to him as much as they want.

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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 20, 2014 •

Chicago Board of Ethics Submits Revised Rules to Council

The Board of Ethics formally submitted its revised Rules & Regulations to the City Council on August 19. The rules govern board activities in conformation with the provisions of the Governmental Ethics Ordinance. Unless the City Council, by majority vote, […]

Chicago Board of EthicsThe Board of Ethics formally submitted its revised Rules & Regulations to the City Council on August 19. The rules govern board activities in conformation with the provisions of the Governmental Ethics Ordinance.

Unless the City Council, by majority vote, votes to disapprove them, the rules will become effective 45 days after submission.

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August 20, 2014 •

Chicago City Council Amends Ethics Ordinance

On July 30, the Chicago City Council enacted amendments to the Governmental Ethics Ordinance, chapter 2-156 of the Municipal Code of Chicago. Changes include granting the Board of Ethics authority to review campaign finance filings and to refer potential violations […]

Chicago City SealOn July 30, the Chicago City Council enacted amendments to the Governmental Ethics Ordinance, chapter 2-156 of the Municipal Code of Chicago.

Changes include granting the Board of Ethics authority to review campaign finance filings and to refer potential violations to the appropriate investigating authority. Pay-to-play provisions have also been amended, affecting vendors, lobbyists, and any other person seeking to do business with the city.

Penalties are currently imposed only on the candidate, official, or employee accepting a prohibited contribution. Under the revised ordinance, however, the penalty provisions will also apply to persons making such contributions.

The amendments take effect September 10.

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July 2, 2014 •

J. William Roberts Named Illinois Acting Legislative Inspector General

In a statement released Tuesday, the Legislative Ethics Commission announced J. William Roberts has been named acting legislative inspector general. Roberts is a former U.S. attorney and served as legal counsel to former Gov. Jim Edgar. He will take over […]

Illinois state sealIn a statement released Tuesday, the Legislative Ethics Commission announced J. William Roberts has been named acting legislative inspector general.

Roberts is a former U.S. attorney and served as legal counsel to former Gov. Jim Edgar. He will take over for Tom Homer, who served 10 years following the creation of the position as part of the 2003 Ethics Act.

Roberts will be responsible for investigating complaints of rule violations, abuse of authority, and other forms of legislative misconduct.

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July 1, 2014 •

Illinois Legislative Inspector General Steps Down

Tom Homer stepped down from his post as legislative inspector general at the end of June. Homer, an advocate for modern ethics reform, took the job in 2004 and served as the state’s first and only legislative watchdog. It is […]

Illinois State CapitolTom Homer stepped down from his post as legislative inspector general at the end of June. Homer, an advocate for modern ethics reform, took the job in 2004 and served as the state’s first and only legislative watchdog.

It is unclear who will replace him; the inspector general is appointed by a resolution approved by three-fifths majorities in both houses of the General Assembly.

Photo of Illinois State Capitol by Martin Haase on Wikimedia Commons.

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April 15, 2014 •

Chicago Board of Ethics Issues Revised Informational Bulletins

The City of Chicago Board of Ethics recently released new ethics bulletins. Two revised brochures provide up-to-date guides for the public as well as for city employees and elected officials. Both include new provisions covering whistleblower protection and the duty […]

Chicago City Seal

The City of Chicago Board of Ethics recently released new ethics bulletins. Two revised brochures provide up-to-date guides for the public as well as for city employees and elected officials. Both include new provisions covering whistleblower protection and the duty of officials, employees, and city contractors to report corrupt or unlawful activity.

A third brochure is also available pertaining to outside employment for city employees.

All new or revised bulletins are available for public viewing on the Ethics Department website.

 

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March 28, 2014 •

Performance of Ordinary Job Responsibilities Leads to Reverse Revolving Door Violation for Chicago Employee

On March 21, the Chicago Board of Ethics posted a summary of its reverse revolving door ruling on the city’s website. The ruling comes from a case brought before the board for the purpose of reviewing the conduct of a […]

Chicago Board of Ethics

On March 21, the Chicago Board of Ethics posted a summary of its reverse revolving door ruling on the city’s website. The ruling comes from a case brought before the board for the purpose of reviewing the conduct of a department director.

Chicago’s reverse revolving door ordinance prohibits employees or officials from personally participating in a decision-making capacity as to their immediate pre-city employers or clients for a period of two years after joining the city.

The board ruled an employee involved in a procurement process for the city violated the reverse revolving door provision even though he consistently avoided extraneous contact with personnel from his pre-city employer and from its umbrella organization. Simply scoring RFP responses in addition to training or meeting with employees from a pre-city employer or affiliate in the ordinary course of employment constitutes a minor violation.

 

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March 11, 2014 •

U.S. District Court Addresses Illinois Campaign Finance Law

Contributions limits will likely remain in place for the entire 2014 election cycle as Illinois Liberty PAC v. Madigan carries on. In July 2012, the Liberty Justice Center filed suit against Attorney General Lisa Madigan, challenging the Illinois Disclosure and […]

Illinois

Contributions limits will likely remain in place for the entire 2014 election cycle as Illinois Liberty PAC v. Madigan carries on. In July 2012, the Liberty Justice Center filed suit against Attorney General Lisa Madigan, challenging the Illinois Disclosure and Regulation of Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Act on constitutional grounds.

Specifically, Plaintiffs claim the Act violates the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause by exempting political parties from the contribution limits applicable to PACs and individuals, by lifting contribution limits in races where a self-funding candidate or independent expenditure committee spends more than a particular threshold, and by imposing lower contribution limits on PACs than are imposed on corporations, labor unions, and other organizations.

The complaint also challenges the Act’s constitutionality because it classifies legislative caucus committees as political party committees and thereby treats them more favorable than PACs, corporations, and individuals, without valid reasoning.

On March 3, U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss with respect to the treatment of legislative caucus committees but granted the motion with respect to all other challenges.

Although the court suspects legislative caucus committees are sufficiently similar to political party committees for purposes of constitutional analysis, the case remains open to give both sides a fair opportunity to address the issue.

 

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February 25, 2014 •

Chicago City Council Approves Contractor Corrupt Activity Ordinance

The Chicago City Council approved an ordinance introduced by Mayor Emanuel requiring every city contractor to report corrupt activity. The ordinance requires city contractors to notify the city’s inspector general of bribery, theft, forgery, perjury, and fraud they are aware […]

City Hall, Chicago

The Chicago City Council approved an ordinance introduced by Mayor Emanuel requiring every city contractor to report corrupt activity.

The ordinance requires city contractors to notify the city’s inspector general of bribery, theft, forgery, perjury, and fraud they are aware were committed against the city. Knowingly failing to report such activity is a violation of the ordinance.

The ordinance becomes effective on March 5, 2014.

 

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January 2, 2014 •

Chicago Board of Ethics Posts New Informational Brochures

The Chicago Board of Ethics recently posted two new publications on its website, both of which outline ethics restrictions for city officials. The first addresses, among other things, general conflicts of interest, lobbying on behalf of others, financial interests in […]

Chicago City SealThe Chicago Board of Ethics recently posted two new publications on its website, both of which outline ethics restrictions for city officials.

The first addresses, among other things, general conflicts of interest, lobbying on behalf of others, financial interests in city contracts, financial disclosure requirements, gifts, revolving door provisions, and penalties for ethics violations.

The second addition is a publication delineating what city employees and officials may or may not do in terms of contracting with the city.

Both documents are intended to provide a basic understanding of ethics rules and are not deemed legal advice.

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November 14, 2013 •

Illinois Gubernatorial Campaign Contribution Limits Lifted

Gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner recently put $500,000 of his own money into his campaign, effectively lifting contribution limits for all candidates in the race. Under state law, candidates may accept no more than $5,300 from individuals and $52,600 from PACs. […]

IllinoisGubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner recently put $500,000 of his own money into his campaign, effectively lifting contribution limits for all candidates in the race. Under state law, candidates may accept no more than $5,300 from individuals and $52,600 from PACs. However, those caps do not apply if any statewide candidate or member of the candidate’s immediate family contributes or loans more than $250,000 to his or her campaign during the 12 months leading up to an election.

Rauner previously donated $249,000 to his campaign, thereby avoiding the threshold. By waiting until now to lift the cap he successfully undermined the ability of his competitors to bring in big-money donors. Rauner’s latest actions allow all three Republican candidates, as well as the Democratic candidate, to accept contributions of any size.

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August 29, 2013 •

DuPage County Eliminates Pay-to-Play Restrictions

Laws were found to be unenforceable

DuPage CountyThe DuPage County Board repealed its pay-to-play provisions after learning from the state’s attorney’s office the provisions were unenforceable. As a non-home rule county, the county did not have the power to act on limiting campaign contributions because it was not specifically granted that power by the state legislature.

The changes were enacted as part of an otherwise minor update to the county’s ethics code. Provisions requiring disclosure of campaign contributions by contractors remain in place.

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July 25, 2013 •

New Municipalities Update- July 25, 2013

In a continuing effort to better serve the needs of its clients, State and Federal Communications, Inc. is expanding coverage of laws and regulations in more municipalities.

I-ComplyWe now provide information on lobbying, political contributions, and procurement lobbying for:

Aurora, Illinois

More municipalities will follow soon!

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