Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot may be out of a job after her campaign got busted emailing Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers to try to recruit student volunteers for her reelection campaign.
For Chicago residents, who will vote on Lightfoot’s fate in a few weeks, this may be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The email, sent Tuesday morning from Megan Crane, Lightfoot’s deputy campaign manager, said:
“My name is Megan Crane and I work on Mayor Lightfoot’s re-election campaign.
“As the race heats up, we’re looking to enrich our office through what we call our externship program.
“Could you please share this opportunity with your students?
“I’ve included more information below.
“Lightfoot for Chicago is seeking resumes from any volunteer interested in campaign politics and eager to gain experience in the field.
“The ideal volunteer will be efficient, well organized, and enthusiastic about joining a dynamic team.
“A strong commitment to Democratic ideals is essential. Folks can apply through this form.
“Externs are expected to devote 12hrs/wk to the campaign.
“Students are eligible to earn class credit through our volunteer program.
“Volunteers will join an experienced team of staff and consultants, providing a unique opportunity to learn the field, finance, and communications aspects of a campaign.
“Volunteer tasks include voter contact, attending events, and more.
“We are very flexible with student schedules.
“No prior campaign experience is required, nor is a major or minor in political science.
“We’re simply looking for enthusiastic, curious, and hard-working young people eager to help Mayor Lightfoot win this spring.
“Feel free to email me back with questions or suggestions, or call any time,” the email said.
BREAKING: Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s reelection campaign sent an email to Chicago Public Schools teachers Wednesday asking them to encourage their students to volunteer to help Lightfoot win a second term as mayor – and earn class credit. @wttw https://t.co/TGNjlIR7Cq
— Heather Cherone (@HeatherCherone) January 11, 2023
A spokesperson for the Lightfoot campaign gave an initial statement to Chicago media saying the effort was designed “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 and was done using publicly available contact information.”
But after WTTW News published the emails, Lightfoot’s campaign put out a second statement saying they would “cease contact with CPS employees out of an abundance of caution.”
Here's the email the Lightfoot's campaign said was "a common practice that has been utilized in city, state, and federal level campaigns for decades" — before the team announced it will cease contacting CPS employees "out of an abundance of caution"
(Personal info is cut off) https://t.co/VxjYHuxwVJ pic.twitter.com/j6Hvk1hOZz
— Alice Yin (@byaliceyin) January 12, 2023
Less than two hours later, Lightfoot’s campaign had to issue 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.
However, Lightfoot was also busted doing the same with instructors at the City Colleges of Chicago, according to WTTW:
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s reelection campaign not only sent emails to Chicago Public Schools teachers asking them to encourage their students to volunteer to help Lightfoot win a second term as mayor – and earn class credit – but identical emails went to instructors at the City Colleges of Chicago.
It was unclear how many City Colleges of Chicago employees received the email from Megan Crane, whose LinkedIn page identifies her as the deputy campaign manager for Lightfoot. The message was sent to instructors’ official work email accounts, which end in ccc.edu.
The first email to City Colleges instructors urging them ask their students to volunteer for the Lightfoot campaign was sent on Aug. 19, 2022, according to an email obtained by WTTW News. The second was sent Monday.
Yesterday, @HeatherCherone broke the story that Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s campaign sent out email solicitations to CPS teachers looking for student volunteers.
Now we know the campaign did the same to City Colleges of Chicago instructors’ official emails.https://t.co/TxA0GtaGVl
— Dan Lambert (@DanLambert22) January 12, 2023