The [Thursday] Papers
I was glad to see this lead by the Tribune on the latest Rahm e-mail dump:
Under pressure from a pair of open records lawsuits, Mayor Rahm Emanuel acknowledged for the first time Wednesday that he has used personal e-mail accounts to conduct public business, a practice that allowed him to hide some of his government correspondence from the public since he took office.
Why? Because Rahm doing city business on a private e-mail account (and server) is perhaps a bigger, more important story than the substance of the e-mails themselves.
For one thing, it clearly, irrefutably marks Rahm as a liar.
Now, some might say, "Not for the first time!"
But consider Rahm's previous statements about his private e-mail account, all from previous Tribune articles:
"The Chicago Tribune filed a lawsuit Thursday alleging that Mayor Rahm Emanuel violated state open records laws by refusing to release communications about city business conducted through private e-mails and text messages.
"The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, asks a judge to order the mayor to comply with a state Freedom of Information Act request from the Tribune and produce the documents. The lawsuit also seeks to have Emanuel declared in violation of the Illinois Local Records Act for failing to preserve e-mails and texts he sent or received while doing city business.
"The lawsuit claims that, in recent years, Freedom of Information Act requests from the Tribune to the mayor's office 'have been met with a pattern of non-compliance, partial compliance, delay and obfuscation.' Emanuel's use of private phones and personal e-mail, the lawsuit alleges, allows the mayor to do the public's business without scrutiny and contributes to a 'lack of transparency.'
"Emanuel, appearing Thursday on WTTW-Ch. 11's Chicago Tonight, said he had not yet studied the suit but insisted that 'we always comply and work through all of the Freedom of Information (requests) in the most responsive way possible.'
Asked if he allows government business to be conducted on private e-mail accounts, he said, "I have a practice that my political and personal stays on my private e-mail, and city business is on the government, and that's the way I operate."
Today we know that's not the case.
Also from that Trib article: "[T]he mayor's office also said it had no records responsive to the request for e-mails and texts in which Emanuel conducted city business on personal devices."
Today we know that's not the case, either.
"A Cook County judge ruled in favor of the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday by declaring that Mayor Rahm Emanuel's e-mails, texts and other communications are not exempt from disclosure simply because they are transmitted over private devices.
"The judge denied Emanuel's motion to dismiss the Tribune's lawsuit, which alleges the mayor violated the state's open records laws by refusing to release private e-mails and text messages about city business . . .
"City Hall asked the judge to dismiss the Tribune's lawsuit, arguing the requests constitute an 'unprecedented and unreasonable invasion of personal privacy and the 'alleged e-mails are not public records.'"
The alleged e-mails.
Today we know the e-mails are real; so too did the mayor from his first day in office in 2011 when his private account was registered.
How do we know when his private account was set up? WikiLeaks told us so. ↓
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel has used personal e-mail accounts to communicate with top government and political figures, including through his own custom e-mail domain that's similar to the one Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton used on a private e-mail server as Secretary of State.
"Emanuel registered his personal e-mail domain, rahmemail.com, on May 16, 2011 - the same day he was sworn into office as Chicago's mayor, records show.
"That personal account surfaced among thousands of hacked e-mails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta posted by WikiLeaks late last month. A subsequent search for the mayor's e-mail domain in 30,000 e-mails released by the State Department earlier this year found that Emanuel used the same account to communicate with Clinton when she was secretary of state . . .
"The messages mark the first direct evidence that Emanuel has used personal e-mail accounts as mayor beyond official government accounts he has at City Hall."
Further, we learned that the reason given for setting up the private account was also a lie.
"Asked why Emanuel set up the personal rahmemail.com account on the day he was sworn in, [spokesperson Adam] Collins responded, 'After the mayor's election in 2011, the campaign fund set up a new e-mail to ensure the mayor was not using government e-mail for private or political use, which could violate city ordinance or state law."
That makes perfect sense - except it's not true. We know today that Rahm did use his private account (extensively) for public business.
More Adam Collins:
"Asked why Emanuel used his personal e-mail to invite [Hillary] Clinton to an official event, Collins responded, 'The Mayor and the Secretary have known each other outside these two roles for more than 20 years. That's a ridiculous line of thinking.'"
Who's ridiculous now?
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday refused to say whether he has used his personal e-mail addresses to conduct government business, suggesting his answer would come in a court of law.
"The mayor faced questions on the issue after the Tribune reported Saturday that Emanuel has used at least two personal e-mail accounts to communicate with top government and political figures, including through his own custom domain, rahmemail.com . . .
"On Monday, Emanuel was asked several times whether he had used his personal e-mail addresses to conduct government business, but he would not say. Instead, he brought up the Tribune's lawsuit.
"'We've handed the material over to you guys,' Emanuel said, referring to messages from his city e-mail account. 'You rejected it, so you went to court. That's where my answer will be.'"
Okay, but . . .
"We did it exactly consistent, exactly how you're supposed to do personal and political on one side and government on another, and we've been consistent with that."
Today we know that's an outright lie.
Emanuel also said the messages from his personal e-mails that have been revealed publicly were not government work.
So he knew it was wrong. And he did it anyway - and then lied about it. Boom!
Which brings us back to today:
"Emanuel's admission came as he directed the city's Law Department and his personal attorney to settle a lawsuit brought by the Better Government Association. The watchdog organization took Emanuel to court in October 2015 over a Freedom of Information Act request that sought official e-mails the mayor sent from a nongovernment account.
"The settlement was announced 12 days after the Chicago Tribune won a round in its ongoing lawsuit alleging the mayor violated the state's open records laws by refusing to release communications about city business Emanuel conducted through e-mails and text messages. On Dec. 9, a judge ordered Emanuel to produce an index of certain e-mails and text messages the mayor sent and received on personal devices, giving him until Jan. 27 to comply."
The Emanuel administration decided it was best to release the e-mails Wednesday night for some reason that has nothing to do with the holiday weekend or any pending vacation plans. They must have something else planned for the annual New Year's Eve news dump.
"In settling the BGA lawsuit, Emanuel agreed to turn over about 2,700 pages of e-mails that his personal attorney determined were government-related in nature."
"An initial review of the thousands of e-mails to and from Emanuel showed the mayor communicating on a range of topics, from reaching out to business leaders and fielding complaints about crime to defending his policies and pitching what he deemed success stories of his administration to national media outlets.
"Many of the e-mails released by the mayor's attorneys show Emanuel writing very little. Most show the mayor either on the receiving end of an e-mail or forwarding one to his staff.
"What's clear, however, is that Chicago's top power brokers, including a handful of aldermen, knew they could reach Emanuel through his personal rahmemail.com address."
"In agreeing to the settlement, the BGA accepted Emanuel and his personal attorney Michael Forde's determination of which e-mails qualified as public records rather than asking a judge to make that determination."
Wow, I wouldn't that done that. Ever hear the one about The Snake?
"The terms of the settlement state that Emanuel and his attorneys don't agree his personal e-mails dealing with government business are public record."
Wow, I would not have agreed to that, either.
"The parties disagree about whether e-mails stored on personal, non-city e-mail accounts related to the transaction of public business are subject to disclosure under (the Freedom of Information Act)," the settlement reads.
Really? The BGA can't afford to press the fight?
"In a statement, Emanuel said he was 'pleased that we were able to come to a reasonable agreement with the Better Government Association today to ensure that transparency keeps up with technology and the realities of modern communication.'"
Wow, that's a pretty weaselly statement that sounds like Rahm, for public consumption, is acknowledging e-mails are public records and his administration is happy to keep up with the times, even as he states the opposite in the settlement agreement.
"The BGA lawsuit did not seek text messages from the mayor and did not seek e-mails on specific topics, but was based on a blanket open records request that sought all e-mails pertaining to public business sent by Emanuel and then-aides David Spielfogel and Lisa Schrader on nongovernment e-mail accounts.
"The settlement does not address the request for Spielfogel and Schrader's e-mails, other than to say the agreement represents no wrongdoing on behalf of former, current or future staffers. Spielfogel declined comment Wednesday on whether he used a personal e-mail address to conduct government business, and Schrader could not be reached."
So what about the Trib's lawsuit?
"In its lawsuit, filed in September 2015, a month before the BGA's case, the Tribune has sought to have a judge determine whether Emanuel violated the state's open records laws by using personal e-mail to conduct government business.
"Less than two weeks ago, Cook County Judge Kathleen Pantle ordered the city and Emanuel to produce an index of certain e-mails and text messages that the mayor sent and received on personal devices.
"The Tribune lawsuit stemmed from an open records request for electronic communications related to subjects that include the city's scandal-plagued red light camera program, as well as e-mail and text correspondence between Emanuel and Michael Sacks, the mayor's close confidant and top campaign donor.
"Pantle also has ruled that public records law does not distinguish between official and personal devices so long as the subject matter is related to city business. The judge also refused to dismiss the lawsuit after the city argued that the records requests amounted to 'an unprecedented and unreasonable invasion of privacy.'"
But we're pleased to keep up with modern technology!
"Bruce Dold, the Tribune's editor and publisher, noted that the news organization recently had won a 'significant legal victory' in its case and that the city had 'refused to produce the e-mails for well more than a year.'
"We welcome the release today of public records that pertain to the conduct of city business. It should not have required extended legal action to protect the public's right to this information," Dold said in a statement. "The city has now produced e-mails that the mayor's personal attorney, Mike Forde, has determined relate to city business. The Tribune has not reached an agreement with the city to settle its lawsuit, but is committed to working with the mayor and the city to ensure the public's right to government records."
Wait, Bruce Dold gave his own reporters a statement? He wouldn't consent to an interview?
"There also were a handful of messages between Emanuel and Dold last year, when Dold was the Tribune's editorial page editor. Some of the e-mails centered on a time for the two to have a phone conversation or lunch, while in another, Emanuel complained that an editorial on plans for a new Whole Foods store in Englewood had not given his administration enough credit for attracting the high-end grocer to one of the city's most violent neighborhoods."
Wait, Dold knew that Rahm was conducting business on a private account - and used it himself to communicate with the mayor? No wonder he wouldn't answer reporters' questions.
"The e-mails also showed Emanuel spending considerable time discussing press coverage with his aides, and in at least one case, suggesting which media outlet a certain story should be planted in."
Do tell! But the story ends there.
"Emanuel often used his private e-mail accounts to pitch stories to journalists at the New York Times and to New Yorker magazine editor David Remnick.
"Others, such as the Washington Post, contacted Emanuel at his private e-mail addresses to seek his input. In October 2015, after the mayor announced city funding for gun buy-back events, CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked Emanuel to grant an interview.
"'How are you doing?' Blitzer wrote. 'It's been too long. Love to the family.'"
So Remnick, Blitzer and the New York Times also knew Rahm had a private e-mail account - and used it to conduct public business.
The Sun-Times also used Rahm's statement, but with an added sentence at the end:
"I'm pleased that we were able to come to a reasonable agreement with the Better Government Association today to ensure that transparency keeps up with technology and the realities of modern communication. The new standard we have set clarifies questions not just for me, but for all of Chicago's 30,000 employees."
A) If a new standard has been set, why does the settlement state just the opposite?
B) If a new standard has been set, will you now settle the case with the Tribune?
C) Does the new standard include not lying anymore? Has that been clarified?
Since when did Rahm Emanuel let a judicial ruling get in his way? Not when it comes to cutting retiree healthcare!
We will find an outlet in Chicago willing to take an Op-Ed we pretend you wrote and pre-approved by the mayor! Shouldn't be hard.
They do seem up Rahm's alley.
Now what could possibly warrant redaction here?
New on the Beachwood today . . .
U.S. Spy Agency Fucks With The Fourth Amendment
Kool-Aid Report: Cre'Von LeBleep
Santa Sweating His Ass Off
The Beachwood Tronc Line: Who knew.
Posted on December 22, 2016
© 2006 - 2017, The Beachwood Media Company