Chicago mayor Lightfoot's campaign under fire for emails to teachers seeking student volunteers

A few days ago, WTTW News, which is a PBS station in Chicago, reported that Mayor Lori Lightfoot's re-election campaign sent an email to Chicago public school teachers urging them to encourage their students to volunteer for Lightfoot's re-election campaign in exchange for class credit.

The email was sent to teachers' official work email accounts suffixed with ""  It remains unclear how many Chicago teachers received the email, which was sent by Lightfoot's deputy campaign manager. 

The email states that students in the "externship program" would have to dedicate 12 hours per week to the Lightfoot campaign.

Lightfoot's campaign spokesperson issued a statement claiming that the effort was meant "to provide young people with the opportunity to engage with our campaign, learn more about the importance of civic engagement and participate in the most American of processes." 

They were attempting to disguise it as an educational opportunity for students.

Then WTTW News published the contents of the email, which received a deserving backlash from all, including other candidates in Chicago's mayoral race.

Lightfoot's campaign issued another statement pledging to "cease contact with Chicago Public Schools employees" out of an "abundance of caution."

Less than two hours later, Lightfoot's campaign issued a third statement:

All campaign staff have 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, even through publicly available sources is off limits. Period.

Mayor Lightfoot acknowledged that it was "simply a mistake" for her campaign to email Chicago Public School teachers, asking them to encourage their students to volunteer for her campaign in exchange for class credit.

But like all politicians who make such "mistakes," Lightfoot insisted there was "no nefarious intent" and that she was unaware of the email until WTTW reported about it.

Lightfoot also stressed that there were no conversations between the campaign and her government office or anyone at CPS to coordinate the recruitment effort.

The Chicago Teachers Union slammed the Lightfoot campaign for the email.

The Chicago Public Schools inspector general has launched a probe into the matter.  Lightfoot said she would "cooperate fully" with any investigation.

This isn't the first time the Lightfoot campaign has done this.

WTTW News reported that last August, the Lightfoot campaign sent similar emails to City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) officials seeking student volunteers. 

CCC spokesperson and deputy vice chancellor Katheryn Hayes responded to the email request as follows:

In accordance with City Colleges' Ethics policy, City Colleges does not coordinate with political campaigns. After receiving a campaign email in August seeking student volunteers, City Colleges staff notified its Ethics Department.  Following the Department's guidance, City Colleges notified the campaign of CCC's ethics policy and purged the emails from CCC accounts. City Colleges is not aware of having received subsequent campaign emails, but is looking into the matter. 

Lightfoot once again claimed to be unaware that her campaign had reached out to City Colleges staff, and other universities, adding that the young staffer responsible for the controversial recruitment effort is "mortified" at the uproar that it has caused.

Chicago's ethics ordinance prohibits the use of public resources, including email accounts, for non-official purposes such as supporting a political campaign.

All those who work for the city administration and its sister agencies are barred from working for political campaigns while receiving their salaries from taxpayer funds.

Encouraging their students to volunteer for a particular campaign violates those rules and could result in the employees' discipline.  Lightfoot's campaign was hence urging teachers to violate the very rules that she is supposed to enforce as mayor.

Even the ACLU of Illinois also thinks that Lightfoot campaign emails to Teachers may have violated federal law.

The ACLU said that the email from the campaign is inappropriately coercive and raises First Amendment concerns.  The ACLU also referred to a Supreme Court ruling from 1995, which stated that government officials cannot use their office or power to coerce participation or to punish for lack of participation in political campaigns.

Lightfoot is already trailing in the polls and this scandal can make things considerably worse for her.

WTTW News reports that "[p]olitical patronage has long plagued all levels of Illinois government, with employees' jobs often hinging on their political activities in support of — or against — specific political candidates.  The practice — which gave the Chicago machine much of its power — has been outlawed after a series of court decisions that forced government agencies to reform their practices."

Lightfoot ran for mayor in 2019 promising to root out corruption and toughen the city's ethics regulations.

But like all Democrat politicians, her words have no relation with her actions.

So let's dig a bit deeper.

First, we look at the students.

The Democrats know that their ideas are deficient and unpopular, hence the only way they can win is by circumventing the rules.  They use politicized agencies and the news media to suppress news that could harm them.  They change voting rules such as permitting voting by mail and much before Election Day.  They pass secret executive orders to boost voter participation.  They allow an influx of illegal aliens, hoping to give them voting rights, which will reduce the impact of conservative votes.

Recruitment of the very young is part of this strategy to hijack democracy.  Young students are usually impressionable and uninformed.  They could be influenced and eventually indoctrinated or programmed to unconditionally subscribe to various Democrat ideas.

The Democrats know that if brainwashing occurs at a young age, it is often permanent.

Part of this indoctrination is to demonize conservatives as bigots, despots, and ignoramuses.  Consequently, they view Republicans not as political opponents, but as their enemies who need to be destroyed.  They form a permanent Democrat voter base.  They become fanatics such that they could influence and coerce others such as friends and family members.

This is one of the reasons why states such as New York and California are Democrat bastions.  The states may suffer myriad grave crises, but the voter's mind is a prison that cannot contemplate voting for the GOP.

Now for teachers who received the emails.

Should Lightfoot manage to win re-election, teachers who declined to volunteer for the mayor's campaign or encourage their students and reported the email to their superiors could face retaliation.

As mayor of Chicago, Lightfoot appoints the superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools and the members of the Chicago Board of Education.

Lightfoot could pressure top officials on the Board to purge all dissenters.

This is so grave that it even merits Lightfoot being compelled to drop out of the race.  But that is unlikely to occur.

It has been a tough week for the Democrats with Biden's mishandling of classified documents and Lightfoot's campaign emails.

Like Biden, when Lightfoot was caught, she tried her best to evade accountability until it was untenable.

It reveals the entitlement of the Democrats, that they operate with the assumption that their violations will never be exposed.  This is where they err.

The Democrats also assume that if, on a rare occasion, they are exposed, they will never receive punishment.

Unfortunately, they are right in this assumption.

Image: Twitter screen shot.

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