* 1:52 am - Chicago elections board hearing officer Joe Morris has recommended that Rahm Emanuel should stay on the mayoral ballot. Morris’ full report can be read by clicking here.
This is a non-binding recommendation. The full board will take up the matter at 9 o’clock this morning. Check ABC7’s website for live Internet video.
* From Morris’ recommendation…
The preponderance of this evidence is that [Emanuel] never formed an intention to terminate his residence in Chicago; never formed an intention to establish his residence in Washington, DC, or any place other than Chicago; and never formed an intention to change his residence. […]
The weight of this evidence shows that the Objectors failed to bear their burden of proof and persuasion that the Candidate intended, in 2009 or 2010, to effect any change in his residence or to be anything other than a resident of Chicago for electoral purposes.
Once residence has been established in Illinois, the touchstone of continued residence is the intention of the resident and not the physical fact of “having a place to sleep”. […]
It should not be lost that every citizen and resident of Illinois is also a citizen of the United States… This “dual citizenship” inheres in the very idea of a federal republic, and the business of the United States is as much the legitimate concern of a citizen of Illinois as is the business of the State or of one of its municipalities. To this end, Illinois law expressly protects the residential status and electoral rights of Illinois citizens who are called to serve the national government. Section 3-2 of the Illinois Election Code, 10 ILCS 5/3-2 thus provides, in pertinent part:
[N]o elector… shall be deemed to have lost his or her residence in any precinct or electoral district in this State by reason of his or her absence on business of the United States, or of this State.
There is no principled reason to exclude service in the Executive Office of the President or elsewhere in the executive branch from the ambit of “business of the United States” any more than to exclude service in the armed forces, the diplomatic corps, Congress, or the Federal judiciary.
The preponderance of the evidence establishes that the sole reason for the Candidate’s absence from Chicago during 2009 and 2010 was by reason of his attendance ot business of the United States.
Morris also ruled that Emanuel owed no fines to the city, as the opposition had alleged. Past-due fines are an automatic candidacy killer in Chicago. Read the whole thing and then give us your thoughts.
State law requires mayoral candidates to “have resided” in the city for the year prior to Election Day. The only exception is for active-duty members of the military.
But Morris ruled that Emanuel did not forfeit his status as a Chicago resident when he agreed to give up a seat in Congress to serve at President Obama’s side.
Even after renting out his Chicago home, Emanuel continued to pay the property tax bill, vote from that address and list it on his Illinois driver’s license and checking account. […]
Odelson is expected to appeal if, as expected, the three-member election board affirms Morris’ ruling.
Actually, the “only exception” is not just for active-duty military, as Morris’ opinion clearly states.
Also Wednesday, Emanuel’s campaign moved quickly to correct an e-mail that went out to supporters lamenting the Chicago firefighter tragedy while also asking for campaign donations.
“As we celebrate this holiday season, we must remember how fortunate we are that we have brave men and women working out there every day to protect our homes, our communities and our families,” the e-mail from Emanuel read.
Included after those words was an electronic button marked “Donate.”
Emanuel spokesman Ben LaBolt said the gaffe resulted from the wrong template being used in sending out the e-mail. The campaign corrected the mistake, and when e-mail recipients clicked the link they got a message of apology and a link to a list of organizations taking donations for the firefighters’ families.
* NY Times: Hearing Officer Says Emanuel Eligible to Run for Chicago Mayor
* AP: Report: Emanuel should be in Chicago mayor’s race: “The hearing officer is sort of like an Italian traffic signal—it’s a mere suggestion. He is basically giving his opinion,” said Paul Green, a political scientist at Roosevelt University in Chicago.
* Bloomberg: Emanuel Meets Chicago Residency Rule for Mayoral Race
* FT: Political rottweiler changes tack in mayor polls: He has now undergone a transformation. Pugnacity has been replaced by affability, aggression by geniality, and the famously quick temper has given way to seemingly endless patience.
* Meeks is wrong on contracting issue: Contrary to his personal view that only African Americans have suffered discrimination, courts throughout this nation have found otherwise; that, in fact, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Arab Americans, American Indians, women and persons with disabilities, have all suffered from discriminatory practices. Those rulings have provided the constitutional basis for the minority/women/disadvantaged business enterprise programs in Chicago as well as the state of Illinois. These programs dictate that eligible minority and women-owned businesses shall be entitled to a percentage of government contracts. We would certainly hope that whoever is elected the mayor of this great city would respect the rule of law and maintain the program that serves to provide job and business opportunities to all Chicagoans and not just a select few.
*** UPDATE 1 - 9:49 am *** Objector Burt Odelson has just finished his statement. He said that Joe Morris’ opinion is “shallow” when it talks about the residency laws. He claimed that Morris looked at statutory construction on the municipal fines issue, but ignored it on the residency issue. Odelson said the recommendation gives new “hope” to city employees who want to live outside Chicago because they could just demonstrate “intent” to reside in the city.
“This (69-page) recommendation, I’m trying to guard my words, is shallow. It’s shallow in reciting the facts,” Odelson said.
“I was extremely disappointed we had to wait that long for such a poor product. This wasn’t a difficult case. It only became difficult because of all of the objectors.”
All of Emanuel’s actions — including applying for a homeowner’s exemption, and amending his 2009 tax returns to declare he was an Illinois resident — each came after Mayor Richard Daley announced he would not seek re-election, Odelson said.
Odelson declared Emanuel’s moves as “self-serving action(s) taken to bolster his residency.”
* Also, if you’re having trouble with ABC7’s live feed, WGN also has one.
* The Tribune editorialized in Emanuel’s favor…
It would be different if he’d pulled up roots and settled elsewhere, but in fact Emanuel took steps to preserve his residency: He leased his house rather than selling it; he voted absentee from his Chicago address and listed it on his vehicle registration and driver’s license. In such cases, the law focuses on intent, and Emanuel clearly meant to come home to Chicago.
The election code is silent on marmalade. Everything else is pretty straightforward. Heck, the appeals are probably already written.
Thursday’s board decision won’t put this to rest. But it should be a pretty easy vote.
*** UPDATE 2 - 11:42 am *** We now have a motion and a second to adopt Morris’ report. That’s two out of three.
*** UPDATE 3 - 11:43 am *** Looks like it’ll be a unanimous vote because the chairman is now saying he’ll side with the other two.
*** UPDATE 4 - 11:44 am *** Unanimous.
But Burt Odelson, the main attorney for the objectors, said he always expected he would have to win the case in court.
“It was not unexpected. We will have to get into court system to prevail where there is no fear of repercussions.”
“It was a difficult case to manage. For me, it was not a difficult case to decide,” said Richard Cowen, an elections commissioner.
The election board, however, is not expected to have final say on the issue. The losing objectors have a week to appeal the board’s decision to the Cook County Circuit Court. The case could wind its way through the court system, including the Illinois Court of Appeals and the Illinois Supreme Court, for weeks.
“My goal is to get this through the courts as soon as possible,” said Burt Odelson, lead attorney for the objectors, to Emanuel’ attorneys after the commissioners rendered their decision.
*** UPDATE 5 *** Gery Chico’s response…
“For too long, the mayor’s race has been focused on residency, not real issues.
“From day one, my campaign has proposed and released more comprehensive policy plans to improve the City of Chicago than any other candidate.
“No matter who gets in or out of this race, I believe I am the best prepared to lead this city in a whole new direction.”