Critics of Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed City Hall on Monday to release some 1,500 emails between his administration and hedge fund manager Michael Sacks — who is also a major Emanuel donor.
Cook County Clerk David Orr was among those standing outside City Hall on Monday, saying that Emanuel should comply with public transparency laws and release the emails before Tuesday’s election.
“The state law makes clear you cannot come with these excuses,” Orr said. “It is not an undue burden to tell us about all these emails which might explain why Chicagoans are being taxed when they shouldn’t be.”
Orr, who is supporting Jesus “Chuy” Garcia for mayor, charged that Emanuel was “giving away the store to the few,” and claimed his discussions with Sacks would make that clear.
Those at the news conference cited a report in International Business Times, which had made a public records request for the correspondence between Michael Sacks and Rahm Emanuel.
City Hall said it is working to release the emails but estimated it would take 77 hours to review the contents and redact what’s not covered by the Freedom of Information Act.
“This administration takes our commitment to transparency and accountability to our residents very seriously, which is why we have released literally millions of records under FOIA over the last four years,” said Shannon Breymaier, a City Hall spokeswoman. ”While we told Mr. Cunningham-Cook, ahead of his blog post, that we were willing to work with him to help narrow his voluminous request under FOIA law — as we regularly do with other FOIA requesters — so he can receive his records more quickly, he has rebuffed our attempts to work collaboratively. Even though he has refused to narrow, we are nevertheless reviewing the records and will respond to him as soon as possible.”
Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey said the public should know the full dialogue between Emanuel’s administration and Sacks, particularly if Sacks’ advice is steering financial decisions.
“The emails of public officials are a matter of public record. What is Rahm Emanuel hiding by refusing to release these emails?” Sharkey said at the news conference. “Michael Sacks in turn is one of Chicago’s wealthiest and powerful unelected officials. People like himself and Ken Griffin have given over $1 million each to Rahm Emanuel’s efforts,” Sharkey said, charging that they in turn are shadow advisers to Emanuel: “on matters of critical public importance of public policies, like the parking meter deal and the city’s investment policies, borrowing policies.”