By ordinance, the investigations and considerations by the Board of Ethics of potential violations of the Ethics Ordinance are confidential. County Code, § 2-592. As a matter of policy, the Board also maintains as confidential the identity of the requestors of advisory opinions. Board of Ethics Rules & Regulations, § 4.10. The Board, however, is undertaking to make its final determinations available to the public with such deletions as may be necessary to prevent disclosure of any information the Board determines to be confidential.


One of the key functions of the Board of Ethics is to render advice to Cook County officials, employees, and others governed by the County's Ethics Ordinance and Lobbyist Registration Ordinance. The Board and its staff provide this advice in formal and informal advisory opinions. First, the Board may issue formal opinions in response to specific questions or on its own motion. These opinions are legally binding on those governed by the Ordinance. Second, anyone may request informal advice from Board of Ethics staff on routine issues. Staff opinions do not bind the Board to a particular opinion, but they have the advantage of being rendered more quickly than formal advisory opinions of the Board. The Board currently only publishes its formal advisory opinions, with redactions where appropriate to protect the identity of the person requesting the opinion. For more information or to request an advisory opinion, click here.


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