Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Campaign: The campaign of incumbent Lori Lightfoot, who heads the Chicago public school system, sent an email to teachers in that system asking them to find children to work for her campaign in exchange for school credit. This explosive discovery is reshaping the already tight contest for mayor.
Now that the Chicago Public Schools inspector general is looking into the situation, her detractors are intensifying their attacks. All of it poses the risk of making Lightfoot’s already difficult path to reelection in February, in which she has lagged in the polls, much more difficult.
Asserting that it had “initiated an investigation into this incident and we are now gathering information to determine whether, if any, policies have been broken,” the Chicago Public Schools Office of Inspector General told NBC News on Thursday.
After a deputy campaign manager asked public school teachers to find kids to volunteer for Lightfoot’s campaign in an “externship program” where they may receive class credit, the investigation was launched. The emails were initially disclosed by Chicago’s WTTW News, a PBS station.
In the email received by WTTW News, the assistant stated, “We’re just looking for enthusiastic, curious, and hard-working young people ready to help Mayor Lightfoot win this spring.”
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The email comes at a crucial time for Lightfoot, who is up against tough opposition from Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia of Chicago and former Chicago education chief Paul Vallas in the nine-way race for mayor.
The school recruitment campaign “could imply that a sense of desperation is setting in,” Vallas added. Vallas demanded a thorough investigation into the scope of the campaign’s involvement, as well as proof that no one exchanged official email lists with a political party.
Image Source: abc7chicago
He remarked, “I can’t believe CPS did this without some sort of direct communication from City Hall. Chicago Alderman Sophia King, a different candidate for mayor, claimed that the email alone “gives Chicago a poor name.” King said of Lightfoot, “I honestly think this is terrible, and if she had anything to do with this she should stand down.”
By selecting the superintendent and members of the board of education, Lightfoot, as mayor, has direct control over Chicago’s educational system. The Lightfoot campaign released several statements after the email’s contents became public on Wednesday, saying that its staff had been “reminded about the solid wall that must exist between campaign and official activities and that contacts with any city of Chicago, or other sister agency, employees, including CPS employees, is off limits.” Period.”
Her campaign issued a statement on Thursday in response to a question concerning the inspector general’s investigation, saying: “If there is a Board of Ethics inquiry, we will address it at that time. In the coming weeks and months, we will keep up our commitment to conducting an honest, ethical campaign.
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