Greising: Here’s a Welcome Twist — Chicago City Council Stands Tough on Lobbying Rule

Lori Lightfoot’s move on the issue of cross-lobbying does not mean the mayor has entirely lost her reformer instincts. What it highlights is that she made a push for nuance at a time when aldermen and voters are still in an absolutist frame of mind.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

In that first, clean-sweep phase after she was sworn into office last year, Mayor Lori Lightfoot got a unanimous vote for the first few measures of her ethics reform agenda.

This week there was another unanimous reform vote. But this time, Lightfoot was on the losing side. A proposal she first made in April, to dilute her new ban on lobbying the Chicago city government, went down in a 17-0 vote of the City Council’s Committee on Ethics and Governmental Oversight. 

That first unanimous vote was a no-brainer. Coming on the heels of the public corruption charge against Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, and Lightfoot’s sweep of 50 wards in 2019′s mayoral election, no one was surprised to see the council embrace reform.

As for this week’s vote, the only real surprise came in April. No one could have predicted Lightfoot would risk her reform credentials with an attempted technical fix to an absolute ban on lobbying Chicago government by all elected officials in Illinois.