WikiLeaks: Emanuel's private emails to Clinton campaign under scrutiny
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is under fire for using a private email account for government business, WikiLeaks said.
The emails, many of them sent to former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, center around Emanuel inquiring about an available position in the Clinton campaign. Emanuel requested that one of his past employees be hired to work for the campaign, detailing what a wonderful speechwriter he is.
Michael Lucci, vice president of policy for the Illinois Policy Institute, was asked about this and told Illinois Rising, “In Chicago, these guys just think rules, ethics, the rules, the law doesn’t apply to them.”
This is not the first occurrence in which Emanuel has been under fire for his private emails. In 2011 and 2013, he was involved in a lawsuit over emails being sent on a private server.
“When favors are traded between the mayor and perhaps a developer, and this is all recorded on private email, rather than public email, taxpayers don’t realize what’s happening," Lucci said.
Emanuel is not the only government official to use a private server; 19 other Chicago city officials reportedly use private emails, even though they are provided with public email accounts.
Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), government officials must provide emails and additional correspondence if a court of law asks for them. The significance of this law is in place so that things of this nature are on public record, and taxpayers know exactly what their politicians are engaging in with others behind closed doors.
By the same token, this presents a problem because lawmakers are using private and secure email accounts and servers, which are much more difficult to retrieve.
“With so many people operating off the grid of the public emails, nobody really knows what might be where," Lucci said.
For example, if a potential business owner decides to open a new business, he or she will be audited every month and will have to go through numerous applications, certifications and government documents to receive approval to open. However, when government officials correspond on private servers, it becomes much easier for political favors to be solicited and exchanged.
“Certain people are able to get going quickly because they’re politically connected," Lucci said.
The vastness of the World Wide Web is also a problem because of the size of it. It makes it difficult to find private emails and servers.
“If these guys are all doing business offline, you don’t even know what to look for,” Lucci said.