The Ethics Reform Task Force submitted a report detailing their initial recommendations for strengthening the City of Chicago’s ethics ordinance. Recommendations include strengthening the gift ban and rules for financial disclosures, eliminating honoraria, adding a “reverse revolving door” restriction, prohibiting elected officials and City employees from receiving or giving loans to lobbyists, adding a whistleblower protection for reporting misconduct, penalizing Political Action Committees (PACs) for knowingly accepting improper campaign contributions, and increasing and enforcing penalties for violations of the ethics ordinance.
“Four months ago, I charged the members of the Ethics Reform Task Force to review the current ordinance, study best practices nationally, engage local experts, and recommend reforms to ensure that City officials and employees are held to the highest ethical standards,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I thank the Task Force for their initial recommendation, which will help create a culture of ethics and accountability throughout City government. I look forward to working with the City Council to turn these important recommendations into law.”
The Task Force has interviewed more than 60 local and national experts and civic leaders, researched best practices nationwide, held hearings with the public and focus groups with city employees, and reviewed input submitted via a public website, written testimony, and emails.
“We are pleased to submit the first part of the Ethics Reform Task Force report detailing our initial 34 recommendations for strengthening the City of Chicago ethics ordinance to ensure that all officials and employees of the City are held to the highest standards,” said Cynthia Canary, Chair of the Ethics Reform Task Force. “A culture that promotes openness and accountability will also encourage public officials to be responsive and effective leaders.”
The Ethics Reform Task Force was formed by Mayor Emanuel in December 2011 to review the City’s ethics ordinance and recommend actions to strengthen the ordinance and increase accountability, oversight and transparency throughout City government. The Task Force is chaired by Cynthia Canary and includes Sergio Acosta, Alderman Will Burns, and Dawn Clark Netsch.
The Task Force’s Part II recommendations, which will be released in late July, will center on the relationship between, and the key responsibilities of, Chicago’s ethics institutions in an effort to clarify and streamline the ethics process. Part II will include a comprehensive look at the organization, process and powers of these institutions, as well as recommendations regarding lobbying.
All recommendations to amend the ethics ordinance require City Council approval. .