Thinking about running in 2023?

Petition circulation for Mayor of Chicago, Treasurer, Clerk and all Aldermanic positions is August 30, 2023. Filing completed petitions and paperwork for Mayor of Chicago, Treasurer, Clerk and all Aldermanic positions is between Monday, November 21 and Monday, November 28 at the Chicago Board of Elections office, 69 W Washington, Chicago.


A Guide for Candidates to Elected Office of the City of Chicago for the 2023 Elections

Chicago’s next Consolidated Municipal Election is February 28, 2023, with any run-offs scheduled for April 4,  2023. Candidates will vie for all 53 City elected offices. Chicago’s Governmental Ethics Ordinance, Chapter 2- 156 of the City’s Municipal Code, imposes restrictions on candidates for elected City office, including  incumbents seeking re-election. It also limits and prohibits certain political contributions. This guide highlights  these restrictions. To the extent it differs from the language of the Ordinance, the Ordinance controls. A complete copy of the Ordinance is available by contacting the Board or here:


Financial Disclosure Statements

The Ordinance requires every candidate seeking election to City office to file a Statement of Financial Interests with the Board of Ethics within 5 days of qualifying as a candidate for elected City office. The forms are filed annually. Forms are available at this link (the Board accepts .pdf statements via email if accompanied by a cover letter signed by the candidate):

There is no fee for filing this form. This filing requirement is in addition to any requirement that candidates file  a Statement of Economic Interests with the Cook County Clerk. But it is the only form that must be filed with the  City’s Board of Ethics. It must be filed each year in which a person qualifies as a candidate. But filers need file  this form only once per year. So, incumbents and certain other City officials or employees who are candidates  may already have filed the form. By law, no elected official will be allowed to take the oath of office, continue in  office, or receive compensation from the City unless they have filed a Statement of Financial Interests. Persons  who violate this requirement are also subject to a public determination that they are in violation of the Ethics  Ordinance, and to fines of $250 per day. 

All Statements of Financial Interests filed by incumbents and candidates are publicly available on the Board’s website through this page:


Campaign/Political Contribution Limits

Per City law, certain persons or entities may not contribute more than $1,500 to any candidate for City elected  office, or to a City elected official, in a single calendar year. These persons or entities are: 

Lobbyists registered with the City; 

Persons doing business* within the preceding four reporting years with, and persons seeking to do  business* with the: 

  • City of Chicago; or 
  • Chicago Transit Authority; or 
  • Board of Education; or 
  • Chicago Park District; or 
  • Chicago City Colleges; or 
  • Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority.  

* These terms have specific meanings in the Ordinance. See §§ 2-156-010 (h), -(x), and -445(a). 

Note: an entity and its subsidiaries, parent company or otherwise affiliated companies, and any of their  employees, officers, directors and partners who make a political contribution for which they are reimbursed by  the entity or its affiliates, are considered a single person for purposes of these contribution limitations.  

Further note: any contributions made to a candidate’s or official’s political fundraising committees are considered contributions to the candidate or official.


Prohibited Contributions or Gifts

Candidates and their committees may not solicit or accept any anonymous contributions, or contributions given  in any name other than that of the true donor. 

Candidates, their spouses, domestic partners and minor children may not accept any anonymous gift. 

Candidates, their spouses, domestic partners and minor children may not accept contributions based on an  understanding, either implicit or explicit, that the candidate’s votes, official actions, decisions, or judgments as  an elected official of the City government would be influenced thereby. 

No person shall make any cash contribution to any candidate in an amount over $250. By Board opinion, cash  includes currency, money orders and cashiers’ checks–-personal checks are not cash. See Case 97032.A,


Prohibited Contributions to the Mayor

By Mayoral Executive Order, City employees, appointed officials, lobbyists registered with the Board, or contractors or their owners or owners’ spouses or domestic partners, are prohibited from contributing in any amount to the Mayor or her political fundraising committee (as defined in §2-156-010(u) of the Ordinance). See:


Who is a "Candidate?"

By City law, a person qualifies as a candidate by: 

► taking the action necessary under the Illinois Election Code to attempt to qualify for nomination for  election, election to, or retention in a City office; or  

► receiving contributions, making expenditures or giving consent for any other person to receive  contributions or make expenditures with a view to bringing about their nomination for election, election  to, or retention in a City office. This means that having a political committee organized and registered to  solicit or accept contributions on behalf of a candidate’s candidacy for City elected office makes the  individual a “candidate,” subject to the Ordinance’s restrictions.


Additional Restrictions imposed by State Law

The Illinois Election Code (10 ILCS 5/1-1 et seq.) imposes additional reporting obligations on candidates’  committees. It also limits the amounts of political contributions that natural persons, corporations, labor  organizations and other political committees may make. For guidance, please consult with a qualified attorney or contact the Illinois State Board of Elections:


Fundraising Restrictions on City Employees and Officials

City employees may not intentionally perform any prohibited political activity during any compensated time and may not ever use or permit the use of City property, time or resources for political activity. 

City employees and officials may not compel, coerce or intimidate any other City officials or employees to  make, refrain from making or solicit a political contribution. 

Non-elected City employees or officials may not knowingly solicit or accept any political contribution from a  person doing business or seeking to do business with the City, except on behalf of their own candidacy for public office. 

City employees and officials with contract management authority may not serve on a political fundraising committee.


For more information:

City of Chicago Board of Ethics 

740 North Sedgwick, Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60654 

Lori Lightfoot, Mayor | William F. Conlon, Chair 

 

Steve Berlin, Executive Director 

Email: [email protected] 

Tel: (312) 744-9660 

TTY: (312) 744-5996 

Twitter: @ChicagoEthicsBd