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A request for an investigation into contributions to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s campaign by financial institutions involved in managing the city’s pension fund were rejected by the ethics commission-members who are appointed by the mayor. The International Business Times reports the contributions are in question because of an Executive Order from Emanuel restricting contributions from city contractors.

The counterintuitive declaration came this week from the mayor-appointed ethics commission, responding to Chicago aldermen’s request for an investigation of campaign contributions to Emanuel from the financial industry. The request followed disclosures that executives at firms managing Chicago pension money have made more than $600,000 worth of donations to Emanuel. The contributions flowed to the mayor despite a city ordinance — and an executive order by Emanuel himself — restricting mayoral campaign contributions from city contractors.

Brushing off the lawmakers’ complaint about Emanuel’s donations from the financial industry, the mayor’s ethics commission issued a nonbinding legal opinion this week arguing that Chicago’s pension systems are “not agencies or departments of the city, and thus firms that contract with them are not doing or seeking to do business with the city.” The commission said its interpretation means financial firms’ business with Chicago pension funds should be considered exempt from city ethics laws.

In its opinion, the commission wrote that the basis of the opinion was to “to attempt to ensure that no ethical clouds are hanging over any candidate’s head.” The opinion was generated by the request for the investigation from city alderman.

The election for mayor will be held on February 24, 2015.

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