The Department of Procurement Services or DPS works to ensure a procurement process that is fair, transparent and accessible in order to maximize opportunities to do business with the City of Chicago. As a potential or current contractor or sub-contractor for the City, it is important to be aware of rules and ordinances that govern the City’s contracting process. The Board of Ethics administers Chicago’s Governmental Ethics and Campaign Financing Ordinances, laws adopted to help ensure that City officials, employees and individuals interacting with government avoid conflicts of interest. The Board is respected as a neutral body,
a trusted advisor, and a fair mediator, such that ethical provisions in the City of Chicago are the strongest they have ever been. The Board of Ethics agency’s activities include:
• Providing confidential advice; • Educating City personnel, vendors, lobbyists, and the public about the Ordinances; • Regulating lobbyists and campaign contributors;
• Distributing and maintaining financial disclosure statements for public inspection; and, • Referring complaints, when appropriate.
As a person or entity doing business with the City, or looking to do business with the City, it is important to be familiar with the rules. The Board of Ethics can help clarify the regulations regarding the ban of Gifts and Favors, loans to City employees and officials,
business relationships, or hiring former City personnel or lobbyists.
To provide an overview, it is important to keep the following in mind:
First, any person, including vendors, potential vendors, or lobbyists may NOT:
• Give an anonymous gift to any City official, employee or candidate for elected City office
• Give or offer anything of value to any City official, employee or candidate for elected
City office based on an explicit or implicit mutual understanding that the votes, official
actions, decisions or judgments of the City official, employee or candidate would be influenced
by it. • Give cash in any amount – or any items
or services worth $50 or more per year, directly or indirectly to any City employee or official.
There are limited exceptions, including gifts that are based upon personal friendship, reasonable
hosting expenses for events related to City business, and educational materials. Further,
any City department may adopt rules that are stricter than those found in the Ethics Ordinance,
such as a complete gift ban for its personnel. Second, every City
contractor must report information concerning conduct known to involve corrupt activity
to the City’s Inspector General. Knowing failure to report such activity is a basis for default under city contracts. Third, the City’s Campaign Finance Ordinance
covers restrictions on political contributions to candidates for elected office in the City.
Key provisions include: • Any person, including vendors, potential
vendors, or lobbyists may NOT give anonymous contributions, nor contributions other than
in the name of the true donor, to any candidate for elected City office, nor to the candidate’s
spouse, domestic partner, minor child, political committees or to any person acting on behalf
of the candidate or his/her committees. • Cash contributions in an amount over $250
are prohibited. • By Mayoral Executive Order, City contractors,
subcontractors and their owners and registered lobbyists may NOT make ANY political contributions
to the Mayor or his political fundraising committee.
The Ethics Board is here to help you identify when there is a potential ethics issue. For
information regarding topics covered by the City’s Ethics Ordinance, please call the
Board’s office at (312) 744-9660 or consult the educational brochures on the Board of
Ethics website: www.cityofchicago.org/ethics.