The [Friday] Papers
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel flew around the country more than 50 times during his first 2 1/2 years in office, mixing city business with politics and attending events that helped burnish his national profile," the Tribune reports.
"On at least nine of the trips, records show taxpayers covered all or part of the travel as Emanuel met with political donors or raised campaign money from wealthy business executives who helped stock a re-election fund that now tops $7 million.
"An additional six taxpayer-funded trips listed little or no official city business but offered Emanuel a stage, from rubbing elbows with Washington's elite at exclusive dinners to giving a commencement speech to graduates of a master's program named after former President Bill Clinton."
Okay, I get it. But here's the most interesting part:
"A majority of the time, the public didn't know the mayor was out of town because his office did not disclose the trips, city records show."
Let's face it, the data/transparency movement as it's presently constituted is largely a distraction and diversion from real open government.
(See also: Rahm's Fake Transparency.)
"[T]he Tribune pieced together details of Emanuel's travel from campaign finance reports and thousands of pages of official calendars, public schedules and city expense records obtained through open records requests."
I commend - highly - the Trib on those efforts. But should that really have been necessary?
Apparently Rahm thinks it would be damaging to him politically if voters knew how he spent his time.
Maybe he's too focused on himself and not focused enough on us.
In last night's episode of Chicagoland, Rahm is commended for cutting a trip to the east coast short in the wake of the Cornell Park shootings.
(Because on Chicagoland, Rahm is commended for everything; especially his never-ending selfless behavior.)
Unanswered by CNN:
Answered by the Trib:
"Last September, Emanuel traveled to Washington to attend a "noncity" event at the Nopa Kitchen & Bar, an American brasserie. Later that month, Emanuel reported $52,000 in campaign contributions from donors in Washington.
"Two hours after records show he was scheduled to leave the private event, 13 people were shot in a park in Chicago's Back of the Yards neighborhood. Emanuel cut short his trip, which was scheduled to include meetings at the White House the next morning and a New Jersey campaign appearance with then-U.S. Senate candidate Cory Booker.
"Asked about the $1,440 in travel expenses for Emanuel and a member of his security detail, [spokesperson Sarah] Hamilton said that 'because the mayor returned early and was not able to conduct city business, the mayor has instructed his campaign fund to reimburse the city for the cost of the trip.'"
Upon questioning by reporters.
On the other hand Rahm couldn't be bothered to cut a vacation short when a historic "polar vortex" knocked the city on its ass.
Even when Rahm is in town, he spends most of his time with financiers - except when CNN's cameras are here; then he spends most of his time with poor black kids.
Hey, CNN, maybe you should stick around after all!
Back to the Trib:
"Emanuel's campaign operation repeatedly has declined to disclose when, where and how the mayor raises campaign money.
"And the Emanuel administration declined to explain why the mayor spends taxpayer money on trips that are followed by contributions to his campaign fund and involve meetings with campaign donors.
"It also declined to say how the mayor determines when to pay for travel expenses with city money and when to cover them out of his campaign accounts."
"Since Emanuel took office, he has taken at least 56 trips and has spent taxpayer money on 41 of them, records show. In other cases, travel costs were paid for by the campaign fund or a city economic development group or reported as gifts on the mayor's economic disclosure statements, records show.
"More than half of them were to a city that Emanuel often derides as dysfunctional and detached from reality - Washington, D.C.
"'I left Washington, because I think it's a crap town,' the mayor told the Sun-Times Editorial Board last year.
"But Washington is still where power and influence lie, so during his first 31 months as mayor, Emanuel took 30 trips to the place where he once worked as a senior adviser to Clinton, served three terms in Congress and toiled as a chief of staff to Obama."
Let's face it, if Rahm had to stay here in Chicago 24/7 he'd go nuts. He has to be where the action is. What do you want him to do, be mayor full-time?
"A half-dozen taxpayer-funded trips Emanuel took offered political benefits to the mayor, but records show few, if any, official city events.
"Included among those is a January 2013 trip in which the city spent more than $1,000 for the mayor to fly from Salt Lake City to Washington, D.C., and back to Chicago. The mayor's official calendar did not indicate why he was in Salt Lake, but he was there as the annual Sundance Film Festival was going on in nearby Park City, Utah."
Would that be Robert Redford's Sundance Film Festival? The same Robert Redford who executive produced Chicagoland? Why, yes, it would be.
"Records show the mayor was scheduled to attend one event in Washington, the annual Alfalfa Club dinner. The exclusive 101-year-old club's dinner has been described by The Washington Post as a private event filled with 'a cross-section of power brokers so influential that almost every president has made a pilgrimage to the annual gathering.'
"Hamilton would not say why the mayor's trip started in Salt Lake City."
Shhhh, top secret!
Speaking of the devil . . .
"Just when it looked like maybe the producers of Chicagoland would branch out a bit, they tripled down on Rahm Emanuel, Garry McCarthy and Liz Dozier as the city's super-citizens deserving of more screen time than Michael Keaton in Multiplicity."
Oh, and . . .
Cook County Democratic Party Unanimously Re-Elects Joe Berrios And His Family To A Fifth Term As Chairman
The Week In Juvenile Justice
Master Magic Realist Dead
Beachwood Photo Booth: Bartender Man
The Week In Chicago Rock
The Beachwood Tip Line: Eyes only.
Posted on April 18, 2014
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