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Rahm Donor & Alderman's Husband Sent Mayor Illegal Lobbying Emails, Board Finds

By Mae Rice in News on Jun 16, 2017 4:40PM

Getty Images / Photo: Scott Olson

Two men—a donor to Mayor Rahm Emanuel and an alderman's husband—violated lobbying laws in their 2015 emails to Emanuel's private account, the Chicago Board of Ethics determined this week.

James Abrams, an Emanuel donor and chief operating officer of medical supply company Medline Industries, and Alan King, a house DJ and attorney married to Ald. Sophia King (44th Ward), will both be fined for their violations. The nature of the fine will be decided at the Board's July hearing.

Abrams committed his violation by forwarding Emanuel an email from a friend—a man Abrams termed "one of my dearest friends in the world"—and asking Emanuel to hear the friend out. In the forwarded message, the friend detailed his struggle to obtain a minimum wage exception from his alderman, and asked for an audience with Emanuel or his chief of staff.

The board determined that by forwarding a thread that "contained a position and an argument," Abrams had engaged, however indirectly, in improper lobbying.

King committed his violation more directly, asking for Emanuel's help when construction—specifically, a rogue fence—marred the site of his planned July 4th event, the much-loved Chosen Few House Music Picnic.

Both men's emails aimed to influence "administrative action," which the board considered a violation because the men had not first registered as lobbyists.

[H/T Sun-Times]