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Ethics committee seeks investigation of Lightfoot campaign over recruitment of student volunteers from City College’s CPS

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The Chicago Ethics Commission on Monday asked the city and the Chicago Public Schools Inspector General to investigate Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s re-election campaign, stating that the campaign was approved by the city by recruiting student volunteers at CPS and City College in exchange for class units. I have asked to determine whether the Code of Ethics of the Company has been violated. .

Voting took place after a closed executive session. As usual, neither the committee’s agenda nor the case summary specified the subject of the investigation.

However, demands for a full-scale investigation by Chicago Inspector General Deborah Wittsburgh and her CPS counterpart Will Fletcher reveal that the subject is the mayor’s re-election campaign, Lightfoot for Chicago. to

The City’s Ethics Code prohibits elected officials from using City time, resources, and information to mix politics and public affairs.

“Investigations conducted by the Office of the Inspector General are confidential. There are very limited circumstances in which local government ordinances permit us to make public statements about our investigative activities. The view is that abusing public office for political gain will not be tolerated in Chicago.No more,” Wittsburgh told The Sun-Times.

“If people are aware of these abuses, especially if city employees are seeing these abuses in the workplace, they should continue to call us. ”

Ethics Committee Chairman William Conlon said the committee is asking City Hall candidates and “anyone who is in any way associated with a candidate to immediately and completely delete their e-mail lists and send government e-mails to them.” remove the address,” he said.

“The board also advised candidates and their associates that emails and other forms of solicitation could be considered intimidating if directed at city officials or persons employed by sister city agencies. We are here to inform you that there is,” Conron said.

“As always, the board can provide confidential advice prior to any action being taken.”

Last week, Lightfoot stood in front of the Phalanx of television cameras to offer a rare public apology.

She didn’t have many options.

Deputy campaign director Megan Crane sent an email to Chicago public school teachers saying that students who agreed to volunteer for the mayor’s re-election would be given class credit. .

Now it threatens to further tarnish the image of the reformer who propelled Lightfoot into office.

Lightfoot said the solicitation was a “clear mistake” by one campaign staffer and would not happen again.

The mayor claims she knew nothing about the student recruitment effort until her campaign was questioned by WTTW Channel 11, and she quickly accused it of breaking the story and crossing an ethical line. I advised the deputy election administrator.

Lightfoot explains why the campaign initially defended the recruitment by email, or why her campaign was rejected by CPS after a similar solicitation for City College teachers was turned down by City College administrators months earlier. did not explain why they recruited the teachers of

“I am not just a candidate. Reach,” Lightfoot told reporters last week.

“There must be an impenetrable wall between what happens on the political side and what happens on the official side, the government side. It’s not just a line, it’s a wall. That wall can never be broken. ‘ she said.

“The person who did this understands the magnitude of the problem and, frankly, understands that this has happened and that she has thus brought attention to herself and the campaign, especially me,” said Lightfoot. I regret letting you down.

However, the mayor said the public shaming her deputy campaign manager had suffered was enough that she would not bow to pressure to fire Crane, whom Lightfoot said had “no malice.”

“The easy political thing to do is fire her and throw her body into a hungry horde. But I don’t think that’s the right thing to do in this case,” the mayor said. “I have a lot of young people working for me. …This is an important educational moment for them.”

Lightfoot has pledged to cooperate fully with any investigations caused by the solicitation. She stressed that “there was zero, zero, zero coordination, coercion, or anything else between the campaign and her CPS on this issue,” and that “city resources” were not used. I emphasized that I did not.

“I want to make that clear enough,” she said.

The CPS Ethics Policy prohibits district employees from forwarding or giving out political campaign materials. The policy further prohibits school personnel from using their position to participate in political activities or conduct political activities during school hours.

City College of Chicago spokeswoman Catherine Hayes said staff members who received the campaign email last August notified the city’s ethics department. The administration removed the email from City College’s account and notified Lightfoot of her campaign of its ethics policy. “In accordance with City College’s ethics policy, City College does not cooperate with political campaigns,” Hayes said in her statement.

Crane’s email to select CPS teachers by work email address infuriated the Chicago Teachers Union and was widely condemned by Lightfoot’s eight challengers.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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