Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot may have touched at least one law. Her re-election campaign may have inappropriately asked teachers to give extra credit to students to help her “win”. The Democrat admitted to this on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show” and is now under investigation. A campaign staffer emailed the Chicago Public School teachers asking them to give students “credit” for participating in a program.
Mayor needs to leave kids alone
Lightfoot spoke to host Jonathan Capehart,
“Look… in our zeal to make sure that young people had an opportunity to participate — and they are flocking to our campaign — one of our staffers reached out through publicly-available information to [Chicago Public Schools] teachers and our city colleges. That was just simply a mistake. I’m the mayor of the city. I’m not somebody aspiring to be the mayor. And the wall between the campaign and the official side has to be impenetrable, and it will be, and that was a mistake.”
The campaign had an “externship program” that the schools were emailed about. Teachers were encouraged to give students credit for participating in it. The ACLU asked Lightfoot to “renounce” the “inappropriately coercive” email.
Help the mayor win
The email stated, “We’re simply looking for enthusiastic, curious and hard-working young people eager to help Mayor Lightfoot win this spring.” A spokeperson for the Chicago Public schools said that “as a rule, the district does not coordinate with any political candidates or campaigns. It has not done so to date and will not be doing so.”
The Illinois branch of the ACLU put out a statement:
“The Lightfoot campaign’s email to Chicago Public School teachers urging them to offer extra credit to students as an incentive to volunteer on the Mayor’s re-election campaign is inappropriately coercive and raises First Amendment concerns. The Supreme Court has made clear that government officials cannot use their office or power to coerce participation or to punish for lack of participation in political campaigns.”
The Mayor needed to back out of this
The ACLU’s statement continued. The campaign’s actions may
“harken back to the worst days of the Chicago political machine. To be clear, this is now Mayor Lightfoot’s responsibility. It cannot be swept away by statements from subordinates in her campaign. The Mayor should personally and publicly renounce this infraction in strong, explicit language, making clear that no one in Chicago should feel compelled to participate in her re-election campaign. That is what is necessary in this moment.”
The Chicago Teacher’s Union president didn’t like it either. Stacy David Gates said the mayor’s actions were ‘unethical” and hoped teachers wouldn’t face retaliation for not doing as the mayor asked.