The fact that something is legal doesn’t make it ethical.
Let’s make the case explicitly, and explain why legality doesn’t determine ethics.
First, we can proceed by enumerating a few counter-examples:
- Most kinds of lying are perfectly legal, but lying is generally recognized as being unethical;
- Breaking promises is generally legal, but is widely thought of as unethical;
- Cheating on your husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend is legal, but unethical, though the rule against it is perhaps more honored in the breach;
- …and so on.
So, if you want to hold that what is legal is also ethical, you’ve got to bite an awful lot of bullets, and accept as ethical a lot of behaviors that you very likely don’t want to accept.
The following contributions to the Morton Grove Action Party are probably legal, but you decide if they are ethical:
Campaign contributions Morton grove Action Party
A-1 Contractors 120 E Marquardt Dr Wheeling, IL 60090 $500.00
Do these folks do business with the village?
Advanced Dentistry 5821 Dempster St Morton Grove, IL 60053 $400.00
Aren’t these forks subject to inspection by the village?
Bill‘s Complete Landscaping Service, Inc 6100 W Oakton St Morton Grove, IL 60053 $250.00
Do these folks provide services to the village?
Chasers Sports Bar & Grill, Inc 9003 N Milwaukee Ave Niles, IL 60714 $550.00
Why would a Niles gin mill contribute to a political party in Morton Grove?
Loyal Order of Moose Morton Grove Lodge #376 6419 Chestnut St Morton Grove, IL 60053 $500.00
This is a 501(c)3 organization that is prohibited by law to engage in political activity
Lundin, Ron 6902 Church St Morton Grove, IL 60053 $250.00
Owner of Linn-Mar Towing which holds the exclusive towing & impound contract with the village
Marino Real Estate, Inc. 5800 Dempster St. Morton Grove, IL 60053 $550.00
The real estate business is regulated by the village.
McGrath Imports, Inc 9105 Waukegan Rd Morton Grove, IL 60053 $250.00
Yet another Morton Grove business regulated by the village
Mitchell Insurance Agency, Inc. 9140 Waukegan Rd Morton Grove, IL 60053 $650.00
Does this agency do business with the village?
Northwest Realty Group, Inc 7174 Dempster St Morton Grove, IL 60053 $50.00
Another realtor making political contributions.
Northwest Realty Group, Inc 7174 Dempster St Morton Grove, IL 60053 $500.00
Apparently $50 wasn’t enough so the multiplied it by ten!
Restore Construction 11241 Melrose Ave Franklin Park, IL 60131 $1,000.00
Why would a construction company in Franklin Park contribute a cool “G” to a Morton Grove political party?
Citizens For Lou Lang PO Box 1815 Skokie, IL 60076 $200.00
The fund raising arm of the Niles Township Democrats influencing Morton Grove politics?
El-Mech, Inc 8700 Waukegan Rd Morton Grove, IL 60053 $500.00
Why would an electronic component company contribute to a political party? Do they do business with the village?
Gene A Eich, LTD 6032 N Lincoln Ave Morton Grove, IL 60053 $165.00; $250.00
What is this Morton Grove attorney’s relationship with a Morton Grove political party. Does he do legal work for, or has been an adversary to the village?
Grendys, Charles 4318 W Carroll Ave Chicago, IL 60624-1705 $350.00
This is a co-owner of Fear City, a business that is regulated by the village and also does business with the village.
Right-Way Rescue 5915 Lincoln Ave Morton Grove, IL 60053 $500.00
This is a 501(c)3 charitable animal shelter that relies on tax deductable donations.
This violates their non-profit status to write a $500 check to a political party.
Got a zoning exemption for an over sized sign
You can read the code of ethics and see that with the exception of the 501(c)3 charitable organization, the businesses were within the law to make the contributions. It is somewhat questionable if the politicians were within the law to accept them.
Village of Morton Grove Municipal Code: 1-8-12: CODE OF ETHICS:
- Prohibition Of Political Contributions:
- Any person or business entity whose contract(s), and pending bids for contract(s) with the village of Morton Grove in aggregate annually total more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) shall be prohibited from making any contributions to: a) a political organization established to promote a candidacy of an elected village official, or a declared candidate for an elected village office, b) an elected official, or c) a declared candidate for an elected village office in excess of one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) per year per official, declared candidate, or political organization. This prohibition shall be effective for the duration of the term of office of the elected official, or for two (2) years after the date of the election for a declared candidate for an elected village office, whichever is longer.
- A political organization established to promote a candidacy of an elected official or a declared candidate, an elected official, or a declared candidate shall not knowingly accept a campaign contribution in excess of one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) per year from any person, business entity whose contracts and pending bids for contracts with the village of Morton Grove in aggregate annually total more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00). This prohibition shall be effective for the duration of the term of office of the elected official, or for two (2) years after the date of the election for a declared candidate for an elected village office, whichever is longer.
The most striking effect of the Morton Grove Ethics ordinance is in its’ lack of enforcement. It could be because the chief ethics enforcement officer is the part-time village attorney who is very active in the political party to which all of the current elected officials are beholden. It seems as if it is a classic case of the fox guarding the hen house.
The most important effects of 2014’s donations of money will come after Election Day. The influence bought by donors will remain. All of the politicians can be counted on to remember the favors that donors did for them.
How will those debts be repaid? How can we be sure that it won’t come at the expense of Morton Grove residents, who can’t afford to buy influence? The answers are the same as they’ve always been. Transparency through real-time reporting , vigilance by the public and the press. And an insistence that our representatives be held accountable.
Based upon recent actions by this administration, we hold out little hope.