Chicago Tribune Sues Rahm Emanuel for Using Private Email to Escape Open Records Law

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
Chicago, IL

If a lawsuit filed by the Chicago Tribune against Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is any indication, it looks like another Obama operative is under fire for using private email addresses to escape accountability and open records laws.

This week, the Tribune filed its lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court, demanding that former Obama chief of staff Emanuel release his email to comply with the state’s Freedom of Information Act. The lawsuit further asks that Emanuel be declared in violation of the Illinois Local Records Act.

The paper says that, for the last few years, Emanuel has engaged in “a pattern of non-compliance, partial compliance, delay and obfuscation” that has resulted in a lack of transparency.

“We are seeking the release of public records on matters of great interest to citizens, but the city refuses to divulge them,” Editor Gerould Kern said in a statement, issued after filing the lawsuit. “Regrettably, the city’s denial is part of a pattern of resistance to releasing public documents covered by the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. We are compelled, therefore, to go to court for the second time in three months to force the city’s compliance.”

The Chicago mayor’s office responded with a statement, claiming that Emanuel thinks transparency is “essential to good government” and that he always complies with the law.

This newest scandal of a former Obama official possibly being caught illegally using private email to escape public scrutiny comes on the heels of months of criticism of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for using private email servers while she was in Obama’s administration.

The most recent news of Hillary’s email scandal broke only days ago when the FBI announced that it had recovered some emails from the server that Hillary had thought was wiped clean of data.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston, or email the author at