In a move intended to "rein in the influence of lobbyists and ensure everyone in City government is working for Chicago’s taxpayers," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Tuesday outlined his new ethics reform ordinance that he plans to introduce to the City Council during their upcoming Wednesday meeting.
The cornerstone of the ordinance is a disclosure database which will offer "a searchable online system for registration and reporting that allows disclosures to be posted in real-time." The provision will also limit the value of gifts that lobbyists give city employees to $50 apiece or $100 in cumulative gifts over the course of a year. Lobbyists will also be newly prohibited from applying for receiving loans from city employees or officials. Finally, the ordinance will codify the mayor's previous executive order intended to eliminate the "revolving door" between city employees and lobbyists.
In a news conference announcing the ordinance at the city's Board of Ethics Tuesday, Emanuel described the move as giving the public "a sense of confidence that we are conducting ourselves in a professional and ethical way. This is another building block or another brick in that foundation that, I think, is so important," according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Under the new ordinance, lobbyists would also be required to disclose all their campaign contributions to the city's elected officials or city employees running for public office.
Emanuel said the ordinance represents his keeping a campaign promise "to reform city government and change the way we do business at City Hall," in the press release.
As the Chicago Tribune reported in June, City Hall lobbyists were paid nearly $13 million last year, according to the record that Emanuel's administration had posted online.
Somewhat ironically, as ABC reported after the mayor's first round of proposed ethics reform in May, much of the reform Emanuel is calling for with this ordinance will mark a new approach of sorts for the former candidate himself. While campaigning for his mayoral gig, he raised more than $14 million, a figure which included numerous donations from supporters who also happened to have city contracts and were, therefore, unacceptable donations under the new regulations he is proposing.