The Chicago City Council last week approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel ethics ordinance imposing new rules on city lobbyists, including public finance bankers, financial advisers, and lawyers who seek work on city bond sales.

Lobbyists face greater reporting requirements under the ordinance, which also calls for an expanded lobbyist disclosure database online.

The public could search the website after registering and have access to real-time reporting by lobbyists about who they are lobbying.

Emanuel, who was elected earlier this year, said the proposals are designed to fulfill his campaign pledge to improve the transparency of city government. 

“Today’s ethics ordinance will rein in the influence of lobbyists and ensure everyone in city government is working for Chicago’s taxpayers,” he said.

Lobbyists would also be barred from spending more than $50 in a single, non-cash gift to employees, and $100 annually. Lobbyists would be barred, as contractors are now, from providing loans to employees.

They also would be required to disclose all campaign contributions to Chicago’s elected officials and city employees running for office.

City officials said the reforms would apply to all lobbyists. Public finance officials who seek work on Chicago’s bond deals must register as lobbyists.

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