Contributed by Michelle St. Pierre
President Barack Obama’s former campaign manager, David Plouffe, has been fined $90,000 for illegal lobbying, in the largest fine ever assessed by the Chicago Board of Ethics.
Plouffe reportedly lobbied Mayor Rahm Emanuel via his private email account for Uber, without being officially registered as a lobbyist.
The amount of the fine was calculated by charging $1,000 per day for the 90 days that Plouffe wasn’t registered.
Chicago Board of Ethics Chairman Attorney William Conlon said Thursday, “Registration of lobbyists is important. It’s a disciplined process that requires someone to identify themselves as a lobbyist, name the clients they’re working for and those organizations they anticipate lobbying. It gives these people access to the decision makers who can affect legislative or administrative processes that other people don’t have.”
“The Board of Ethics is committed to enforcing lobbying regulations. Where there are violations, we will take action. It’s open government. It’s sunshine. It’s the ability to understand what contacts people looking for legislative or administrative action have to government officials who may be involved in those activities,” he continued.
During problems with a struggling taxicab industry, the mayor had authorized Uber and Lyft to make pick-ups at O’Hare and Midway Airports and at McCormick Place.
Plouffe, who had previously worked with the mayor in the Obama White House during the time Emanuel was chief of staff, sent emails to Emanuel’s private email account, lobbying on behalf of Uber over fees and airport pickup regulations.
In reviewing Emanuel’s private emails over a lawsuit filed by the Better Government Association, it was discovered that Plouffe had sent emails lobbying on behalf of Uber, when he was not actually registered as a lobbyist.
“The evidence before the board is clear: Mr. Plouffe lobbied city officials via email on Nov. 20, 2015, explicitly on behalf of the company, never reported that lobbying activity and did not register as a lobbyist with the Board of Ethics with that company as his client until April 13, 2016, leaving 95 business days between the date of lobbying and the date of registration.”
H/T: Chicago Sun Times
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