As a result of a BGA investigation and legal action, The City of Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel have agreed to release all of Emanuel’s private emails related to city business—subject to any applicable legal exemptions—and institute a new policy that will ban city employees and officials from using their private email accounts to conduct city business.
The city’s change in practices comes in response to Freedom of Information Act requests and lawsuits filed by the BGA, and separately by the Chicago Tribune, and follows more than a year of hard-fought litigation and rulings by two Cook County judges that public officials’ emails are not outside the scope of FOIA simply because they are on a private account.
The e-mails are here.
* From a Mayor Emanuel e-mail to Bruce Rauner…
Aww. So cute.
* I told subscribers about this e-mail chain today, so I’ll just leave it at that for now…
The newly released emails show the mayor and his advisers’ reactions in some stressful moments. On the first day of the 2012 teachers’ strike, Frank Clark — now Emanuel’s school board president — wrote to the mayor offering support and advice.
“This unfortunate situation does however provide a window of opportunity to focus the media and the general public in another direction. Namely, toward more charter schools,” Clark wrote on Sept. 10, 2012.
Before he became governor, Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana, often wrote to Emanuel about education issues. In one email in June 2012, Diana Rauner told Emanuel, “Congratulations on the $ for the web portal. But what are you doing about proposed cuts in [Chicago Public Schools] funding.”
That included an exchange of emails between hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin – a longtime donor to Emanuel – and the mayor about the lakefront bike trail, a conversation apparently touched off in part by Griffin damaging his car on a speed bump.
“Lake front bike path is a disaster. How can this be after they just refinished much of the path?” Griffin wrote Emanuel in April of this year. “Why doesn’t the city paint the speed bumps on the road white – my damage bill is over $10k from going over one at dusk.”
Emanuel wrote back that paint was a good idea, “I will look into it,” and explained how the plan was to separate biking and running lanes.
“Can they accept private funding.. this is a mess,” wrote Griffin.
“Yes why don’t I come with the commissioner present our plans and we can do a lot with you,” the mayor wrote. Griffin just this week pledged $12 million for a project to help separate uses on the path.
* Personal Rahm Emanuel Emails Reveal Much About Business, Little About Scandals
* Emanuel emails reveal he promoted city to heavy hitters during Cubs playoff game
* Feder: Emails reveal how Emanuel works the media — and vice versa