The Board of Ethics has the authority to receive and refer complaints alleging violations of the ethics ordinance.
Anyone with knowledge of a potential violation of the City’s Governmental Ethics or Campaign Financing Ordinances may file a complaint with the Board of Ethics, or even better, with the Office of the Inspector General. The Board does not investigate, and will refer all complaints to an appropriate investigating authority.
Whistleblowers are protected. In 2013, the Governmental Ethics Ordinance was amended to provide for specific remedies in the event there is retaliatory action against a City employee, official or other person because he or she discloses or threatens to disclose a policy, practice or activity of any City employee, official or contractor that he or she reasonably believes shows an unlawful use of City funds or City authority, or certain other unlawful conduct, or provides information to or testifies before any public body conducting an investigation, hearing or inquiry into any such policy, practice or activity. Remedies may include reinstatement, two times the amount of back pay, reconsideration of a City permit, license, certification, job application, or other City action or decision, or actual damages. For more specific information, please see the Ethics Ordinance (link below).
Duty to report wrongdoing. The Governmental Ethics Ordinance (§2-156-019) requires every City employee or official, and every City contractor to report to the Inspector General, directly and without undue delay, any and all information concerning conduct that the employee or official knows or should reasonably know to involve corrupt or other unlawful activity by another City employee or official relating to that other's City employment or office, or by any person dealing with the City concerning such dealings. Failure to so report subject City employees and officials to sanctions, including discharge. To make such a report, please see the website of the Office of the Inspector General.
For more information, please see the Ethics Ordinance §2-156-019 of the Municipal Code of Chicago.