Statements of Financial Interests - Some Common Questions
Certain questions on the Statement of Financial Interests (“FIS”) generate a majority of queries to the Board of Ethics from employees and officials filling out the form. While each filer's situation is unique, we present here a compilation of questions that have consistently arisen. As always, this summary is only an overview intended to help City officials and employees develop a basic understanding of their responsibilities under the Ethics Ordinance. For authoritative guidance on specific questions, consultation with the Board of Ethics is recommended (call us at 312.744.9660).
- I have a part-time job as a security guard for a company that has a contract with the City. Last year, I made $7,500. Where do I report this?
Information regarding this job should be reported under Questions 2 and 3 of the FIS form. You were paid over $1,000, so you must report under Question 2, and you were paid over $5,000 for services rendered to a company that does business with the City, so you must also report under Question 3.
- My husband is employed by a company that, to my knowledge, has no contracts with the City or its sister agencies. Do I have to report this?
No. Question 4 asks whether the spouse or domestic partner of the FIS filer receives compensation in excess of $5,000.00 or services rendered to a company doing business with the City or its sister agencies. If, to your knowledge, your husband's company does not do business with these entities, you do not need to report it.
- I own 50% of a company that sells supplies to Chicago restaurants. We do not do any business with the City or any sister agency. Do I have to report this?
Yes, you must report this under Question 7 and you may need to report this under Question 2. Question 7 asks if you have an ownership interest in a company conducting business in Chicago that is worth more than $1,000 (excluding publicly owned companies). Your 50% ownership interest must be reported under Question 7, and if your ownership interest yielded you more than $1,000 in the previous year, it must also be reported under Question 2.
- Last year, I sold some property, making a profit of over $20,000. Do I need to report this?
Maybe. Although Question 8 asks if you realized a capital gain of more than $5,000 from the sale of any asset, it specifically excludes the sale of your principal place of residence. However, if you realized a capital gain of more than $5,000 from the sale of property other than your principal residence, you must disclose the address or legal description, even if the property is located outside the City.
- My grandmother died and left me stock in several companies. I sold it and made a considerable profit. How do I answer Question 8?
If, as a tax matter, you realized a capital gain of more than $5,000 through the sale of any company's stock, you must name the stocks, and categorize the amount of capital gains.
- Prior to our marriage, my wife bought a piece of property that is titled in her name only. How do I answer Question 9?
As long as your wife remains the sole title holder, you do not have to disclose her ownership of this property.
- I own shares of a mutual fund. My annual tax statement from the fund tells me that I realized more than $5,000 in capital gains from stock sales made by the fund’s manager, but I did not sell any shares of my mutual fund. Do I need to figure out which stocks or other assets the fund manager sold and list them on my FIS form?
No. For Question 8, You would need to disclose capital gains derived from a mutual fund only if you sold your shares of the fund itself and realized a capital gain of more than $5,000 from the sale of your shares.
- I got married last year, and received some gifts worth more than $250. Must I disclose the names of those who gave me these gifts in Question 10?
Yes, unless they were from your or your spouse’s relatives (as defined in the Governmental Ethics Ordinance). You must name your personal friends and wedding invitees who gave you gifts worth more than $250, though you are not required to disclose the amount of the gifts or what they were.
- I owe credit card debt worth more than $5,000. Must I determine whether my credit card issuer does business with the City and disclose this on Question 13?
No. Credit card debt falls into the category of “debt instruments issued by financial institutions whose normal business includes the making” of such loans.
- I am the Vice President of my condominium board. Must I disclose this in Question 14?
Yes. You must disclose any board or commission on which you sit, regardless whether you receive compensation for it, or where it is located.
- I own a 6-flat in Chicago, and rent out 5 units. I received rental income from my tenants in an amount in excess of $1,000 last year. Must I disclose this?
Yes, in Question 2.
- My spouse is a teacher for the Chicago Public Schools. Must I disclose this in Question 4?
We strongly recommend disclosing this, though as a technical, legal matter, it depends on whether the Chicago Public Schools has contracts with the City worth in excess of $10,000 in a 12-month period. We advise erring on the side of transparency, as there is nothing in the Governmental Ethics Ordinance that prohibits your spouse from working for the CPS.