* Apparently, Judy Erwin didn’t tell Team Emanuel that she’d just been busted for ethics violations and the Emanuel people didn’t check. Oops…
A veteran politician Rahm Emanuel named to his mayoral transition team resigned her high-level state job last summer and paid a fine for conducting political business on state time, according to a newly filed ethics report.
Judy Erwin, a co-chair of Emanuel’s mayoral campaign, said late Friday night that she would resign her new post on his transition team after the Tribune contacted her and the campaign. She said she hadn’t informed Emanuel of the ethics violation.
Erwin, the former executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, admitted using her office e-mail and phone while working on a campaign committee for presidential candidate Barack Obama, using staff resources to plan her trip to the 2008 Democratic National Convention and engaging in campaign fundraising activity while on the job, the state’s Executive Ethics Commission ruled in a decision filed Feb. 16.
The ethics commission said she cooperated with the investigation by the executive inspector general, reimbursed the state, agreed to pay a $4,000 fine and promised to never work for the state again. She resigned Aug. 15.
In the filing, Erwin’s explanation was that she “was not careful enough in separating her political work from her state responsibilities . . . and also that she had become accustomed to using administrative assistants in the private sector in a way that is not permitted in the public sector.”
But the commission found it “particularly troubling” that Erwin had made a campaign contribution to a state representative who was chairman of a committee overseeing the Board of Higher Education’s budget.
“This suggests that she was responding to a real or imagined pay-to-play incentive within state government,” the commission wrote in its filing.
While there were clear violations in the ethics report, that campaign contribution amounted to just $125 to former Rep. David Miller. Not exactly a king’s ransom.
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