Lobbyists hired to influence Cook County government officials received over $750,000 in compensation during the last six months of 2007, according to figures released by Cook County Clerk David Orr.
The $751,192 paid to lobbyists represents a 16 percent decline from the $892,390 they received during the first six-month period of 2007, and a 38 percent drop from the $1,210,945 paid to lobbyists during the last six months of 2006, 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. Sixty-seven formerly registered lobbyists resigned this year.
Effective January 10, 2008, legislation passed by the Cook County Board of Commissioners requires these lobbyists to pay a new registration fee of $350. Unlike other taxing bodies, this is the first time Cook County has collected a lobbyist registration fee. The State of Illinois charges $350; the City of Chicago has a $200 fee. Money collected from the fee will be applied as revenue against Cook County's budget deficit.
This year’s filings as of the January 22nd deadline show:
- 225 lobbyists, including two new ones who had not filed last year, filed reports.
- Of the 225 who filed, 40 lobbyists filed on or before January 9, avoiding the new annual registration fee.
67 of the 225 lobbyists resigned.
- 120 lobbyists paid the new $350 fee, for a total of $42,000.
- 26 lobbyists who were registered last year had not yet filed.
The expenditure reports show:
- 50 lobbyists listed some kind of compensation, expenses or expenditures.
- This period’s expenses and expenditures total $54,520, nearly nine times the $6,183 reported during the last reporting period.
A list of all registered Cook County lobbyists is available in the Cook County Clerk’s office at the Cook County Administration Building, 69 W. Washington St., 5th Floor, Chicago.