Fewer lobbyists earning more in first half of 2008

July 23, 2008
Press Release

106 lobbyists resign; Compensation up 33 percent

Lobbyists hired to influence Cook County government officials received more than $1 million in compensation during the first six months of 2008, according to figures released by Cook County Clerk David Orr.

“The number of lobbyists is down, from 225 to 175, but their compensation is up,” Orr said.

The $1,116,818 paid to lobbyists represents a 33 percent increase from the $838,592 they received during the last half of 2007, and a 25 percent increase from the $892,390 paid to lobbyists during the first six months of 2007, documents submitted to the Clerk’s office show.

Any individual who receives payment for attempting to influence county government is required to register as a lobbyist with the Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Division of the Clerk’s office. County ordinances specify that individuals who lobby county officials must file a semi-annual expenditure report. So far this year, 106 formerly registered lobbyists have resigned.

Effective January 10, 2008, legislation passed by the Cook County Board of Commissioners requires these lobbyists to pay a registration fee of $350. The State of Illinois charges $350; the City of Chicago has a $200 fee. Money collected from the new County fee is added to Cook County’s general fund.

This year’s filings as of the July 21 deadline show:

  • 175 of the 187 lobbyists filed by the deadline;
  • 12 registered lobbyists failed to file;
  • 106 lobbyists resigned since January;
  • 139 lobbyists paid the $350 fee, for a total of $48,650.

The expenditure reports show:

  • 47 lobbyists (27 percent of lobbyists who filed) listed some kind of compensation, expenses or expenditures;
  • The highest reported compensation was $303,600; the average reported compensation was $23,762;
  • This period’s expenses and expenditures total $17,825, a 68 percent drop from the $56,476 reported during the last half of 2007.

A list of all active Cook County lobbyists and their clients is available at cookctyclerk.com. Copies can also be picked up at the Cook County Clerk’s office, Cook County Administration Building, 69 W. Washington St., 5th Floor, Chicago.

Lobbyists’ disclosure and expense reports are public record and available for review.