Johnson Transition Leader Agrees to Pay $10,000 Fine for Violating Lobbying Regulations

Chicago City Hall. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)Chicago City Hall. (Michael Izquierdo / WTTW News)

One of the leaders of Mayor Brandon Johnson’s transition team will pay a $10,000 fine to resolve charges brought by the Chicago Board of Ethics that he violated the city’s lobbying regulations, according to records released Tuesday.

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Djavan Conway, who owns Conway Consulting Group and served as an intergovernmental affairs advisor on Johnson’s transition leadership team, acknowledged he failed to terminate his registration as a City Hall lobbyist in January 2021, according to the settlement agreement he reached with the Chicago Board of Ethics.

Conway’s failure to notify Chicago officials he was not lobbying city officials in 2022 triggered daily fines of $1,000 starting on Feb. 7, 2022. Conway did not respond to repeated requests by the board to clarify whether he continued to lobby Chicago officials until April 26, 2023, 14 months later, according to the agreement.

By the time Conway and his attorney, Thomas S. Moore, signed an agreement with the Board of Ethics to resolve the charges on Aug. 30, Conway had accumulated $582,000 in fines. However, the settlement agreement unanimously endorsed by the Board of Ethics on Monday will allow Conway to pay just $10,000 to resolve the charges.

Moore did not respond to a request for comment from WTTW News.

Conway was registered to lobby Chicago officials from 2016 to 2021. In his final year as a Chicago lobbyist, Conway earned $162,000 by lobbying for Uber, Molson Coors and the Chicago Teachers Union, according to city records.

Before his election as mayor, Johnson worked as an organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union.

A spokesperson for the mayor did not respond to a request for comment from WTTW News.

In his response to the board, Conway said his failure to terminate his registration as a lobbyist was “inadvertent and unintentional” and that he did not realize he was required to do so after he wrapped up his work for his lobbying clients in 2021.

Since state rules do not require lobbyists to notify officials that they do not intend to lobby Illinois officials, Conway said he assumed city rules were the same, according to his response to the board.

Once Conway pays the fine, he can re-register as a City Hall lobbyist, according to Chicago Board of Ethics officials.

State election records show Conway has only made $1,500 in campaign contributions since 2016, including $500 to Johnson more than three years before he ran for mayor.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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