Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel used a private email server to communicate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta, leaked emails reveal.
Emanuel, a former House lawmaker who served early on in the Obama administration, sent an email to Podesta asking him to consider Brian DeSplinter for a position with Clinton’s campaign. Emnauel sent the email from the address “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The email address is still active, according to Mailtester.com, and is run through Google’s Gmail service. This is unlike Clinton who used a private email server based out of her Chappaqua, New York home.
WikiLeaks published the email chain online Friday in its latest tranche of emails from Podesta’s hacked Gmail account. It’s long been suspected Emanuel used a personal email to conduct official city business.
The Chicago Tribune has been locked in a lengthy legal battle with Emanuel’s office for private emails and texts the mayor used to conduct government business.
The Tribune’s lawsuit claimed “the mayor’s office in recent years has been uncooperative with FOIA requests,” the paper argued. Emanuel’s “use of private phones and personal email allows the mayor to conduct city business out of public view and contributes to a ‘lack of transparency.’”
In May, a Cook County judge ruled in favor of the Tribune, saying Emanuel’s emails were not exempt from public records laws simply because they were done on a personal account.
“There is no merit to defendants’ argument that the mere storage of communications pertaining to the transaction of public business on personal electronic devices… categorically shields those communications from the FOIA,” Judge Kathleen Pantle wrote in her opinion.
The mayor’s office vowed to continue fighting the case, but the Tribune welcomed the ruling.
“It’s wrong for a government official to claim that if they conduct business on one phone and email account it’s a public document, but if they use another phone or account to conduct the same business it is a private matter,” editor-in-chief Bruce Dold said in a statement.
“We are committed to pursuing this case to the end,” he said.
DeSplinter served as Emanuel’s speechwriter, according to the April 2015 email chain released by WikiLeaks.
“Brian has been speech-writing for me for the past four years and has done a great job. He’s a highly skilled speech writer and I know he’d be a very valuable addition to the team,” Emanuel wrote to Podesta. “Let me know if you have any questions and I hope that you can find a good position for him.”
“Dan will reach out,” Podesta responded.
“Thank you. Would mean [a lot],” Emanuel wrote back.