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Suffredin is county official lobbyists contact most

Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin of Evanston is listed in a new report from the county clerk's office as the county official most often contacted by people lobbying county government.

The report says lobbyists reported reaching out to Suffredin 44 times in the first half of this year — compared to 26 times for the president of the county board, Toni Preckwinkle

Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin of Evanston is listed in a new report from the county clerk's office as the county official most often contacted by people lobbying county government.

The report says lobbyists reported reaching out to Suffredin 44 times in the first half of this year — compared to 26 times for the president of the county board, Toni Preckwinkle

Suffredin is an attorney and a registered lobbyist himself who has lobbied for casino and other corporate interests as well as government agencies including the City of Evanston. He pushed for passage of the county lobbyist disclosure regulations.

County Clerk David Orr announced today that lobbyists were paid nearly $1 million during the first half of 2011 as they attempted to influence Cook County officials, although the number of reported contacts dropped by nearly 10 percent.

The 178 active lobbyists in Cook County earned $924,136 and reported 632 lobbying contacts from January to June, down from 700 contacts during the last half of 2010, according to data released by Orr.

“From the activity reported, we know county officials were lobbied about the budget, the proposed closure of Oak Forest Hospital, contracts and more,” Orr said. “Some lobbyists are diligent in their reporting, but it appears too many fail to report all of their activity.”

Lobbyists are required to file twice a year, in January and July. Lobbyist information can be found at Orr’s Lobbyist Online website, where anyone can search by lobbyist or firm name, what they are lobbying about, who they lobbied and how much they were paid.

Update 12:15 p.m. 7/27/11: Suffredin says he's contacted so often because he's sponsored many budget, revenue and hospital governance ordinances.

"I also remind people they must report contacts," Suffredin says, adding that  seven of the 44 contacts are duplicates because of the way one individual configured his report.

Nine of the contacts were with the Cook County Farm Bureau and eight were with Citizens Action, and those contacts "related to budget and hospital issues."

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