Ethics Rules? Not for the Mayor
It's impossible to say how much the freebies are worth. On the yearly "statements of financial interest" Daley files with the Chicago Board of Ethics, he only has to check off that they're worth at least a total of more than $500. That figure triggers another requirement: Daley is supposed to disclose every gift he gets from anyone other than his wife and family.
Instead of providing the Board of Ethics with a list of gifts, though, Daley tells the board a "mayoral gift log is maintained in the mayor's office and is available for public inspection.''
But those logs are far from complete, a Chicago Sun-Times review has found, failing to disclose all of the gifts Daley gets.
They don't, for instance, include any of the trips Daley has gotten from various organizations. Or any of the free meals he has eaten. Nor do the gift logs even list the birthday and Christmas presents he has gotten from his staff since 2005.
"The staff? We almost view that as a family gift to him," Daley press secretary Jacquelyn Heard said.
Jacquelyn Heard, former member of the press and "unnamed City Hall source" in hundreds of Sun Times articles, puts a couple of nice statements out there:
"He has to record everything that's considered a gift," Heard said. "What you consider a gift and what we consider a gift are two different things."
And Daley doesn't consider free trips to be gifts, according to Heard.
"When the mayor is traveling abroad promoting the city, we don't consider that a gift because he is working as mayor and chief promoter of the city of Chicago," she said. "He's not going there for fun in the sun."
Chicago's ethics ordinance prohibits the mayor and other city officials and their immediate family members from taking any gift worth more than $50 from anyone doing business with City Hall.
"A lot of these gifts are inconsequential," Heard said. "Whether they're on or off [the list], what difference does it make? I don't think there's a lot of gifts left off the list. There's no concerted effort. There's not a 'don't-log' list."
Labels: city politics