Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel used private email account to talk with Clinton campaign
WikiLeaks latest revelations show Emanuel tried to get top staffer a job inside the Clinton campaign. Government at all levels must be transparent and accessible to the public. The use of private email accounts flouts efforts to hold government accountable and expose corruption.
Newly released WikiLeaks documents show that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel used a private email account to communicate with Hillary Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta in order to get one of Emanuel’s employees a job within the Clinton campaign.
The WikiLeaks documents show that Emanuel sent an email from the private email address “firstname.lastname@example.org” to Podesta asking him to consider one of his employees for a position in the Clinton campaign. The employee in question was Brian DeSplinter, a speechwriter and media aide in Emanuel’s office.
“Brian has been speech-writing for me for the past four years and has done a great job. He’s a highly skilled speech writer and I know he’d be a very valuable addition to the team,” Emanuel wrote to Podesta in an email released by WikiLeaks. “Let me know if you have any questions and I hope that you can find a good position for him.”
The email address is run through Gmail and is still active, the Daily Caller reports.
This is not the first time Emanuel has been mentioned in email correspondence from within the Clinton campaign. Emanuel was mentioned in a March 2016 email Wikileaks also released. In the email, Clinton surrogate and head of the Center for American Progress, Neera Tanden begs Podesta to distance Clinton from Emanuel. At the time, Emanuel was facing political fallout from released footage of the police shooting of Laquan MacDonald along with hostility from a spate of school closings, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Emanuel has long avoided being forthcoming with his correspondence. It took a lawsuit from the Chicago Tribune to secure the release private emails about official business the mayor sent from a personal account of his own between 2011-2013.
But the mayor is not the only city officeholder to utilize private email. Although every single Chicago city employee is provided with a public email account, 19 aldermen use private email accounts to conduct city business, according to a new report by government accountability watchdog Project Six. When elected officials at any level of government use private email accounts and websites, they’re able to avoid public scrutiny via Freedom of Information Act requests.
The Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, allows private citizens, the press and research organizations to request government documents. Once a FOIA request has been sent and received, any requesting documents in the possession of the requested government agency must be turned over. Government officials can avoid these requests by using private email accounts and websites, thus making it harder to keep government transparent.
Government at all levels must be transparent and accessible to the public. The use of private email accounts flaunts efforts to hold government accountable and expose corruption. City lawmakers and other government officials should not be conducting the public’s business in the dark, accessible only by legally ambiguous groups like WikiLeaks. Mayor Emanuel and the 19 aldermen using private email should shut down their private accounts and use the email provided by the city.