Chicago Tribune Sues Over Mayor Emanuel’s Private Email Use

25 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Chicago’s Mayor Emanuel sued over private email use.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – An Illinois House committee on Thursday passed a plan to pay for emergency food assistance, mental health and other services during the state budget stalemate.CHICAGO – The Chicago Tribune is suing Mayor Rahm Emanuel over claims he violated open records laws for failing to disclose personal emails and texts used to conduct city business.Welcome to Clout Street: Morning Spin, our new weekday feature to catch you up with what’s going on in government and politics from Chicago to Springfield. It’s been a year since Treasury warned that it would crack down on corporate inversions—buying a share of foreign company and using its mailing address to garner a lower tax rate.

The lawsuit argues that the newspaper’s Freedom of Information Act requests to Emanuel’s administration have been “met with a pattern of non-compliance, partial compliance, delay and obfuscation.” The issue of public officials relying on personal email for official business has come in the spotlight. Deputy Mayor Steven Koch told legislators Thursday that the city wants to protect residents whose homes are worth $250,000 or less and Chicago’s downtown business core will absorb much of the burden. It’s Thursday, Sept. 24 and with the hangover from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s bad news Tuesday budget speech still lingering, aldermen will be back at City Hall today for a regular City Council meeting.

The funding bill for human services was passed by the House Executive Committee on a 7-0 vote and sends the $3.8 billion spending plan to the full House. Why so long a wait? “I think the Treasury is simply stymied,” said TPC’s Steve Rosenthal. “For the government, putting guidance or action on hold is always the easiest thing.” Just by announcing the rules, however, Treasury may have created enough uncertainty to slow some deals.

The measure would also authorize the state to spend $1 billion from the state lottery fund to pay out winners who currently aren’t getting paid because of the budget stalemate. Rosenthal adds, “If Treasury thought that the U.S. corporate tax base was eroding quickly, I think they would take some actions quickly.” Are Colorado’s schools benefitting from the state’s pot tax? Chicago’s archetypal mayor is a throwback from an era when the city’s political machine hummed with great fervor and was led by a strong-willed boss who worked his magic through a patronage system. On the agenda will be dueling plans by aldermen to offer rebates to low-income homeowners to try to defray the cost of Emanuel’s proposed record property tax increase. Now the machine pretty much has been dismantled and the boss has been transformed into a chief executive who derives his power from raising millions of dollars, some of which goes toward supporting aldermen who will walk in lockstep with him, and attempting to bounce others who won’t.

If Colorado collects $40 million or less from an excise tax, the money has to be distributed through a competitive grant program called “Building Excellent Schools Today,” or BEST. Proco “Joe” Moreno, 1st, says he will introduce an ordinance to provide money back to households making less than $100,000 on a sliding scale based on the assessed value of the homes. Aldermen will host town hall meetings with constituents to mull the merit of the hike. (The city does have a massive police and fire pension shortfall.) But it’s unlikely that the budget that eventually passes will be vastly different from the one the mayor has proposed. The use of personal email and text messages by government officials is raising growing concern across the country from advocates for government transparency, who say the officials use them to circumvent so-called sunshine laws and avoid scrutiny of the media and the public. Greg Harris, one of the bill’s sponsors, told committee members Thursday that passing the bill was more fiscally responsible than allowing state agencies to rack up bills for services they’re not currently able to pay. “We have providers who are doing work that can’t even get paid now.

And although voters want a strong mayor who has the connections to bring swag to the city, they also want their aldermen to fix matters that hit close to home. Hillary Clinton has been dogged during her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination by her use of a personal email account, and a server at her home while secretary of state.

Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th, will bring forward his own proposal to give rebates pegged to the household income and number of people living in owner-occupied homes. For a lot of people this is very real in their lives today,” the Chicago Democrat said. “I think it’s unfair to pass an appropriations bill that doesn’t have the revenue with it,” added Rep. Those where a majority of voters opposed the sale of recreational marijuana are ineligible—even though pot tax contributes to only 1 percent of total BEST funding. Bruce Rauner to make that happen, hardly a sure thing amid the partisan gridlock in Springfield. *Aldermen are set to consider another $225 million in so-called scoop-and-toss borrowing, the much-criticized practice of issuing new long-term bonds to pay off old long-term debts. But business groups said adding to the tax burden already carried by businesses might lead some to decide against adding staff, expanding or even being located in Chicago at all. “Businesses already pay their fair share,” said Michael Reever, vice president of government relations for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “We cannot stand for a greater shift of the property tax burden onto commercial and industrial property.”

Schlossberg, who was not commenting on the Tribune’s lawsuit in particular, said that she encourages clients to do government business on government devices, and that many municipalities have policies that require it, but some municipalities do not. Emanuel has vowed to eliminate these “gimmicks” by 2019, but his administration asked for the latest round as part of a larger $500 million bond issuance to help the city make ends meet this year.

In his budget address, Emanuel said he’s phasing out scoop and toss — a financial geek phrase that is now part of Chicago political lexicon following the Chicago Tribune’s “Broken Bonds” series — with $125 million planned for next year. *Approval of a measure to allow the food carts that are ubiquitous in Latino neighborhoods to operate legally for the first time. That’s if they renovate or build in certain areas of the city known as “food deserts.” Her hope: Tax incentives would encourage grocery stores to locate in distressed neighborhoods. During the first term of Mayor Harold Washington, a progressive who had a more conciliatory approach, the council staged an ugly feud with a level of nastiness and gridlock that was epic. According to a University of Illinois at Chicago analysis — called “Rahm Emanuel’s Rubber Stamp City Council” — 36 of the city’s 50 aldermen voted with the mayor at least 90 percent of the time during his first term, from 2011 to 2014.

The two-year licenses would cost $350, and vendors would have to prepare food in commercial kitchens before hitting the streets under the ordinance proposed by Ald. Roberto Maldonado, 26th, who said he buys from the vendors every Sunday after church. *And the council likely will sign off on an ordinance that would allow developers to construct more buildings with fewer or no parking spaces. The government’s budget would raise taxes on those making more than $6,504-a-month, reduce a rebate on the labor cost of household renovations, and raise taxes on diesel, gasoline, and certain savings accounts.

Aldermen at first resisted, but are now on board after Emanuel gave them more control over the approval process. (John Byrne and Hal Dardick) *Illinois House is in today. Daley) raised $7 million running a presidential-style (campaign),” said Simpson, a former Chicago alderman. “And Rahm raised $32 million last time, and his (political action committee) raised $5 million, which was used to support or defeat aldermanic candidates.

When you give money to candidates, that keeps them as rubber stamps.” The mayor is strong because aldermen tend not to focus on the big picture of running the city. Read more about that here. *Mayor Rahm Emanuel will make one of his semi-regular appearances on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight.” It airs a little after 7 p.m. on Ch. 11. Uncovering the Hidden Wealth of Nations… A new book by Gabriel Zucman, a student of economist Thomas Piketty, examines the “scourge” of tax havens around the world. Zucman examined central bank data from various countries and found trillions of dollars in assets stashed in investment funds incorporated in tax havens.

Days before he delivered the budget, he dispatched several aldermen to fan out and support the proposed garbage-hauling fee on single-family homes, duplexes and four-flats. The park district said the new park will be open to the public, but also used by Chicago Public Schools baseball teams and serve as a host site for the state playoffs. Wood is scheduled to toss out a ceremonial first pitch, though it’s unlikely he’ll return to the roster in time for the playoffs. (Juan Perez Jr.) *When Pope Francis addresses a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday — a first for a pope — each lawmaker has a ticket for a guest to sit in the House gallery. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers’ own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs.

Kidwell’s request sought emails, text messages and other electronic communications between Jan. 1, 2015, and June 30, 2015, related to the city’s scandal-plagued red light camera program. We have to wonder: Will the aldermen engage in a sparring match with this mayor and, for example, get more police officers beyond the 300 the mayor proposes moving from desk duty to the streets? The Tribune, in its reporting, has sought to learn more about Sacks’ role in advising the mayor on economic development and other public policy issues. Michael Noland of Elgin got the backing of the Kane County Democratic Party organization in his bid for the nomination in the open-seat northwest and west suburban 8th Congressional District race.

Noland, first elected to the state Senate in 2006, said the party’s backing will help put the “boots on the ground we need to be successful.” (Rick Pearson) *Funeral arrangements for state Rep. In a phone interview last year with DNAInfo, Emanuel said he used a flip phone to talk business and handled emails on a separate device. “I have to do emails and be on the phone at the same time,” he said. “I’m finishing an email right now as we’re talking. … I’ve got another phone, a smartphone.” Last May, he told the Tribune that teachers union head Karen Lewis had given him some ideas and “I texted her back. According to the lawsuit, 139 emails over a two-month period were released, and nearly half of those were “form invitations to the dedication of Maggie Daley Park,” with only 64 considered by the Tribune to be “potentially substantive.” The magazine says Duncan’s “transformed the policy landscape for 100,000 schools and 5,000 colleges” as he’s “unleashed a huge backlash” against testing and the federal government’s policy influence.

On Wednesday, the party reported $93,600 from 18 donors, including $21,600 from Meridian Health Plan of Illinois, $20,000 from the beer distributors and $10,000 each from the operating engineers and a Nicor Gas-associated holding company.

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