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Lobbying in McHenry County, Illinois

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Taxpayer-funded lobbying is the use of public funds by governments to influence other levels of government. Counties, for example, will pay lobbyists to influence the state or the federal government. This type of lobbying is often not disclosed to constituents. Counties hire lobbyists on a contractual basis, have lobbyists on staff, or join groups which promote or oppose legislation on their behalf. Lobbyists also help counties seeking specific projects or appropriations.

Federal lobbying

McHenry County has lobbying representation from The Ferguson Group.[1] This is for "Washington Representation Services," as outlined in the agreement between the county and the firm. This includes:[1]

  • Annual visit to McHery County to meet with County officials to plan and understand the county's legislative agenda
  • Represent McHenry County's interest with legislators, staff, and agencies
  • Advocate McHenry's positions and monitor, report, and analyze actions
  • Provide office space and staff support to McHenry County personnel when in Washington
  • Train educate officials with regards to legislation and impact of legislation
  • Coordinate with McHenry County's state representatives.
The contractor shall give preference to McHenry County regarding representation on priority issues, i.e. the contract shall not represent client(s) who oppose McHenry County's position on a specific issue."
McHenry County contracts with the Ferguson Group
Year Amount
2010 $23,250
2009 $93,000
2008 $92,068
2007 $90,000
2006 $90,000
2005 $7,500

Since 2005, McHenry County has spent $395,818 on contracts with the Ferguson Group.[2][1]

In 2008, McHenry County reported $80,000 spent on lobbying the federal government.[3]


The Ferguson Group represented the county before the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and the following departments, to ask for appropriations:[4][5]

  • Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Rural Development
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Departments of Commerce and Justice, and Science
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of Labor
  • Department Health and Human Services
  • Department Education
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department Housing and Urban Development

Specific legislation the county was focused on includes:

  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization
  • The Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2009