Statement of Personal Ethics, Potential Biases, and Possible Conflicts of Interest

Being an ethical person is important to me, and I think it’s useful to know where people are coming from. Here’s some info on that for me.

Starting from the hearth and moving outward, I am married to Shawn-Laree O’Neil, who runs her own public relations business. As time goes by, and our lives become further enmeshed con joy, our spheres get more aligned, but there is no overlap between her clients and the entities from which I generate income.

We live in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago, often with my two children, who mainly live with their mother in a suburb west of Chicago. I spend a lot of time out there as well, to the point that I’m basically a city mouse/ country mouse.

I’ve got a pretty large family of origin, with six siblings, three of whom live in Chicago. There is no overlap between their financial matters and mine.


I am employed as Director of Product Development & Business Strategy at Ad Hoc, a small software engineering company focused on delivering and operating fast, stable, and well-designed services on behalf of U.S. federal and state government. I began at Ad Hoc in June 2016.

I wrote two blog posts explaining my move from Smart Chicago to Ad Hoc. From June to September 2016, I served as a consultant to Smart Chicago. I no longer receive any income from the Chicago Community Trust, which is where Smart Chicago is based.

Ad Hoc generates revenue through software development contracts with the federal government and private companies. See the Ad Hoc website for information on the work we do.

See Linkedin for all previous professional positions.


I am a Director of Voqal, which works to “advance social equity by supporting nonprofit organizations and individuals that use technology and media to build an educated, empowered and engaged public”.  My work at Voqal has a particular focus on Chicago, where we have a grant program. and do events. Smart Chicago has no relationship with Voqal, but the organization’s goals are parallel in some ways, especially around broadband adoption. Voqal is a foundation partner of Mobile Citizen, a service that provides low-cost mobile Internet exclusively for schools and nonprofit organizations. I also serve on the Finance Committee of the EBS Financial Advisory Committee in connection with my work at Voqal. I receive no compensation for this service, although I do receive travel and accommodations to attend meetings in cities outside of Chicago and I was paid to serve as a mentor in the 2016 Voqal Fellowship program.

I was a member of the Sunlight Foundation Board from December 2014 to September 2016. I led its unsuccessful Executive Director search and left when it became obvious to me that the board was ineffective . I was the chair of the board of U.S. Open Data from its inception in 2013 through its successful conclusion in July 2016.

I was the Chair of the Digital Divide Elimination Advisory Committee, which “advised the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in establishing criteria and procedures for identifying recipients of grants under the Digital Divide Elimination Act” until it was disbanded by Governor Bruce Rauner in April 2015.

I served on the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force from its inception in December 2015 to the issuance of a final report in April 2016.

I have served in advisory roles for entities such as the Cook County New Media Council, was the co-founder of OpenGovChicago, and  advised other organizations in quasi-official capacities as well, including ChicagoNEXT. I will post more here if/when they rise above that.

I am now and I have always been a member of the Democratic Party, and I can be generally described as a “Big City Democrat”. Some current real-world manifestations of this are that I think President Barack Obama is doing a great job. I took a semi-famous picture at the President’s re-election HQ in the last election cycle. At election time I often write down why I’m voting the way I am, like an October 2008 screed about Sobbing Southbound. I worked for and contributed to David Hoffman for U.S. Senate in Illinois in 2010. I voted for Rahm Emanuel for Mayor of the City of Chicago in 2011. I traveled to Pittsburgh, PA in November 2016 in a failed effort to help elect Hillary Clinton president. I live in the 32nd Ward and I am a fan of my Alderman, Scott Waguespack. Lastly, I have a placeholder organization called CampaignSwing, under which I organize some of my political consulting work.

I am a recovering alcoholic and have been a member of Alcoholics Anonymous since September 10, 2000. I seek to practice these principles in all of my affairs.

I am a Catholic and love being one. I own the Roman Missal, Third Edition, and I carry it around for fun. Like almost every other Catholic I know, I am highly supportive of things like the right of women to choose what to do with their bodies and the right of all people to love and marry whomever they want. I justify this by referring to the Nicene Creed that we say in Mass— as long as I believe every single word in there (and I do), I am a Catholic.

I taught CCD for a decade, and I injected these principles of tolerance and essential doctrine into my teaching. In general, I taught the kids that Jesus was down with all sorts of people and if He came down from heaven today, he wouldn’t be in a tizzy about some of the nitpicky baloney that “religious” people get worked up about.

Like everybody else, you can tell a lot about me from the company I keep. I’m not the world’s biggest retweeter of things, but the normal admonitions apply. I’ve never understood the idea that “opinions are my own”. Of course they are.

I own a lot of domain names and have a lot of side projects. I write about them on this self-named Web site and you can see screenshots of pretty much everything I do as well. I’ve also written (and continue to write) books of poetry.

Changelog: this is Ethics Page #4, published on April 15, 2017. It replaces Ethics Page #3, published on February 23, 2015, and is archived here. That replaced Ethics Page #2, which was published on March 10, 2014, and is archived here. The original February 2, 2012 Ethics Page is archived here.