Chicago board fines ex-Obama aide $90K

Chicago board fines ex-Obama aide $90K
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Former Obama campaign aide David Plouffe has been fined $90,000 for breaking the city of Chicago’s ethics rules in lobbying Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) on behalf of Uber.

The Chicago Board of Ethics in a 5-0 vote determined that Plouffe broke the rules by not registering as a lobbyist after seeking Emanuel’s support for rules to allow Uber to pick up passengers at Chicago’s airports, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The violation became public after Emanuel released hundreds of emails in December, bowing to pressure from two lawsuits claiming that he had violated Illinois’s open record law.

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“Assume both of us thought the airport issue was settled and we would never have to discuss again, but unfortunately two significant new hurdles were introduced,” Plouffe wrote in one email dated Nov. 20, 2015.

“Coming to you because of their severity that would prevent us from operating. We were all set to announce Monday we were beginning pickups.”

“Please speak to Negron and David on my staff. Impossible for me to address from China,” Emanuel replied.

Uber noted their regret in not filing Plouffe's communications with Emanuel and said that they would work with the board moving forward. 

"We work hard to ensure our registrations are accurate and up to date," and Uber spokesperson said in a statement. "We regret that in this instance we made a mistake and we will comply with the board's assessment."

Both Plouffe and Emanuel worked for Obama during his first term in the White House. The Chicago mayor was Obama’s chief of staff.

According to the ethics board, Plouffe and Uber did not challenge the allegations but argued that the fine should be reduced to $1,000.

The board pushed back, saying a lower fine wouldn’t prevent others from breaking the rules.

“There would be no deterrent effect as to unregistered lobbying at all,” wrote William F. Conlon, the ethics board's chairman.

This story was updated at 4:46 p.m. on Feb. 16, 2017.