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Emanuel Seeks To ‘Rein In The Influence’ Of Lobbyists

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on June 29, 2011, that Walgreens would bring 600 new jobs to Chicago over the next two years, but at the same time he was threatening 625 city layoffs if labor unions didn't agree to cost saving measures. (Credit: CBS)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on June 29, 2011, that Walgreens would bring 600 new jobs to Chicago over the next two years, but at the same time he was threatening 625 city layoffs if labor unions didn’t agree to cost saving measures. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised sweeping ethics reforms during his campaign, and now he has rolled out a new round.

This time, Emanuel is seeking to “rein in the influence” of City Hall lobbyists and lift the veil on their influence-peddling activities.

“I want to re-establish the ties that have been frayed between the public and those of us in public service,” Emanuel told a news conference at the city’s Board of Ethics, 740 N. Sedgwick St.

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“Part of that is giving them 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.”

Emanuel issued his first ethics reform just hours after taking office on May 16.

Those reforms barred new political appointees from lobbying city government officials for two years after leaving their job, protected city workers against pressure to give gifts or political contributions to their bosses, and prevented lobbyists from making political contributions to the mayor.

Also on his first day, Mayor Emanuel also reissued three earlier executive orders issued by retired Mayor Richard M. Daley that dealt with business political contributions to the mayor, city rules barring patronage hiring and an order requiring city employees to report wrongdoing to the city’s inspector general.

More recently, the mayor also posted an unprecedented amount of information about city lobbyists on the internet.

Now, he is prepared to go even further to minimize influence peddling.

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, the mayor will introduce an ordinance limiting — to $50 per gift and $100 per calendar year —the value of gifts lobbyists can give to city employees.

City employees would also be prohibited from getting loans of from individual lobbyists or their businesses. Twice-a-year, lobbyists would be required to report their campaign contributions to city employees and elected officials.

Emanuel’s plan would also create, what the mayor’s office calls the “most comprehensive lobbyist disclosure database in the nation.”

Lobbyists would literally be required to disclose who they lobby and what they are lobbying for and post those disclosures online in “real-time,” so voters can access the information before legislation is approved.

The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

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