Lobbyists paid nearly $3 million in 2015, up 25.4%

February 22, 2016
Press Release

2015 was highest grossing year on record for Cook County lobbyists

The amount of money earned by lobbyists in Cook County reached “its highest reported level ever,” in 2015, according to Cook County Clerk David Orr.

The amount of money lobbyists were paid in 2015 – $2,947,086 – made 2015 the top-grossing year for Cook County lobbyists, surpassing the 2014 total of $2,349,964 by 25.4 percent.

Lobbyists who are registered in Cook County are required to file twice a year. During the first half of 2015, total lobbyist compensation of more than $1.4 million was reported.

In 2015, from July 1 through Dec. 31, 85 elected officials and high-ranking employees throughout Cook County government were lobbied a total of 1,006 times. Lobbying may include a phone call, meeting, email, letter, text message or event. While some lobbyists do not report any activity, others provide detailed reporting including every newsletter and thank you card.

Total Compensation by Lobbying Period:


Jan. – June

July – Dec.























Total compensation to lobbyists dipped approximately 16.6 percent from 2013 to 2014. The amount they earned in 2015 exceeded every other year since online filing began and was the second time in the past three years that lobbyist compensation exceeded $2.5 million.

The Top Five Lobbyists in 2015, by Total Compensation:



All-Circo Inc.


Thomson Weir LLC


Fletcher, O’Brien, Kasper


Minaghan, Mary Kay


Nicolay & Dart LLC



The amount of money paid to those top 5 lobbyists -- $1,977,100 – accounted for 67 percent of the total lobbyists earned in 2015.

Issues which county officials were lobbied on in 2015 included a living wage ordinance, amusement taxes, tobacco taxes, county finances (which includes bond financing, market updates, fiscal reforms, and banking services), and the county’s homebuyer's assistance program.

Clients of the lobbyists included banks, financial firms, labor unions, real estate, liquor distributors, tobacco companies, telecommunications and computer companies, ticket brokers, chambers of commerce and other business groups.

Top-Paying Lobbyist Clients for Second Half of 2015:


Amount paid to lobbyists





McLane Co. Inc.


Independent Living Systems


Family Guidance Centers



Also in the Top 10-paying clients in the second half of 2015 were the Orland Hills Fire Protection District, which paid $60,000 to lobbyists, and Telmate LLC, an inmate communications firm which paid $41,000 to lobbyists.

Other lobbyist clients (and the amount they paid to lobbyists) in the second half of 2015 included: Cigar Association of American ($10,000); Gold Coast Tickets Ltd. ($10,000); Illinois State Bowling Proprietor’s Association ($5,000); Red Bull ($2,500); Gold Coast Tickets ($1,800), and the Chicago Cubs Baseball Club LLC ($1,500).


For more information regarding the lobbyist database or to search by firm, a person’s name, or the name of an elected official, please visit cookcountyclerk.com.