Chalk up one for Rahm Emanuel.
Chicago’s new mayor is taking dead aim at lobbyists trolling City Hall and hitting them right where it hurts.
The Second City sheriff began shooting down lobbyists’ influence peddling immediately upon taking office. And, today he’s going to reload and fire again.
The Chicago Sun Times is reporting that at a City Council meeting scheduled for today, Emanuel will propose ordinances limiting the value of gifts City employees receive from lobbyists to $50 per gift and a maximum of $100 per year.
But, while that may be like shooting an elephant with a BB-gun, the Mayor is taking a shotgun to a far more egregious and insidious influence peddling tactic. He will propose that lobbyists be prohibited from offering and making loans to any City officials or employees.
His Honor is also promising to create the “most comprehensive lobbyist database in the nation.” Lobbyists will have to report at least twice-a-year and in “real-time” their campaign contributions to elected officials and employees seeking higher office.
The comprehensive database on lobbying efforts will provide transparency to the public.
Today’s announcements come on the heels of executive orders Emanuel signed immediately upon being sworn in as Chicago’s new mayor.
To “rein in the influence of lobbyists” he swore off campaign contributions from lobbyists and issued a decree that City officials and employees would not be allowed to exit the “revolving door” of influence peddling since they won’t be allowed to lobby anyone in City government for two years after they’ve been lopped off the payroll.
As President Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel knows more about the pressures lobbyists try and exert on government decision-makers than most people. And, as a part of Chicago’s storied political machinery, he has intimate knowledge of how levers of corruption are pulled.
It’s not easy going after the mob of peddlers pushing their snake oil under the wheels of the public gravy train, but thank goodness there’s a new sheriff in town shooting light into dark alleys.
Now, if we can only get someone with real power in the federal government (someone who isn’t planning on using their government role to make themselves rich) to legislate Emanuel’s efforts into federal laws, we might be able to get back to a “government of the people, by the people” and not a government of lobbyists for themselves and their clients.