Emanuel Seeks To ‘Rein In The Influence’ Of Lobbyists

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.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s John Cody Reports

“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.

  • tom Sharp

    Who needs lobbyists when Rahm and Quinn are busy appointing all the loser politicians thrown out in previous elections or retired with 6-figure pensions to new posts.

  • Chivi

    Mayor and Governor, give drug tests to your CITY employees and you will see the domino effect. There is no reason they should not. If they are clean, they have nothing to worry about. If they are using, fire them and open up jobs to those who do not use drugs. CITY workers should not be impaired on the job. GIVE THEM DRUG TESTS!!! INCLUDING ALL THE TEACHERS, COPS, FIREMEN, etc. Make room for those who are not users!!! Those who choose to save their jobs will get clean. It needs to be done!@!!

  • Roberta Waker

    Great job, Mayor. Lobbyists are killing this country with their millions of dollars in “bribes” to get everything they want from our government. Get rid of lobbyists and we just might get our government back.

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