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Bill Ruthhart
Chicago Tribune City Hall reporter
Chicago Tribune City Hall reporter

Bill's posts

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A former senior executive for Uber who once served as Barack Obama's campaign manager has been fined $90,000 by the Chicago Board of Ethics for illegally lobbying Mayor Rahm Emanuel on behalf of the ride share company.

The board voted 5-0 to find that David Plouffe violated city ethics rules by failing to register as a lobbyist after contacting Emanuel to help the company on regulations for picking up travelers at Chicago's two airports.

Plouffe's lobbying violation only became public after Emanuel in December released hundreds of personal emails related to public business under the pressure of a pair of open records lawsuits alleging the mayor violated the state's open records law.

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel kept his campaign fundraising machine cranking through the final quarter of last year and now has a little more than $1 million as he weighs a run for a third term, newly filed records show.

Emanuel started October with $670,000 in his campaign fund, and he raised $563,000 during the final three months of 2016. During the same period, Emanuel spent $217,000, including nearly $40,000 on legal fees.

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In the 13 months since federal officials launched their civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made changes to police training, policy and discipline designed to repair a scandal-plagued force.

When the U.S. Department of Justice report finally emerged Friday, it included praise for some elements of initiatives Emanuel pressed last year as he sought to get ahead of the investigation's findings.

On some of Emanuel's changes, though, federal officials concluded that the new policies had been rushed or were insufficient to solve the department's problems.

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What Chicago has meant to Obama is clear: It remains a part of his core, the home base where he'll build his presidential library and headquarter his foundation — even if it's not where he'll call home in his immediate post-White House days.

But ask the city's political and community leaders what Obama's presidency has meant to Chicago, and the perspectives are as diverse as the city's 77 neighborhoods.

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The Chicago Police Department embarks this year on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's ambitious plan to add nearly 1,000 new officers to the force over the next two years, and some aldermen say it could be difficult to hit the mark.

Among the hurdles: adding more training officers, increasing capacity at the police academy, finding enough qualified minority candidates and keeping up with attrition.

The mayor called for the additional officers to bolster the department's rank and file as Chicago was in the midst of its most violent year since the 1990s, with more than 750 people killed and 4,300 shot.

Emanuel's hiring spike, though, doesn't include hundreds of additional officers who will have to be brought in to replace those who retire or leave the force. Since the mayor took office, CPD has lost nearly 600 officers through that type of attrition — a decrease of about 5 percent, the Chicago Tribune has reported.

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Vice President-elect Mike Pence appeared at a Chicago fundraiser on Friday where the Illinois GOP hoped to raise as much as $1 million for the Republican National Committee. His visit was greeted by about 150 protesters outside. 

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A review of the Mayor Rahm Emanuel's settlement of a suit brought by a government watchdog group shows that it contains loopholes that open records experts said could allow Emanuel to avoid turning over all the public records that the law requires. 

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Under pressure from a pair of open records lawsuits, Mayor Rahm Emanuel acknowledged for the first time Wednesday that he has used personal email accounts to conduct public business, a practice that allowed him to hide some of his government correspondence from the public since he took office.

Emanuel's admission came as he directed the city's Law Department and his personal attorney to settle a lawsuit brought by the Better Government Association. The watchdog organization took Emanuel to court in October 2015 over a Freedom of Information Act request that sought official emails the mayor sent from a nongovernment account.

The settlement was announced 12 days after the Chicago Tribune won a round in its ongoing lawsuit alleging the mayor violated the state's open records laws by refusing to release communications about city business Emanuel conducted through emails and text messages. On Dec. 9, a judge ordered Emanuel to produce an index of certain emails and text messages the mayor sent and received on personal devices, giving him until Jan. 27 to comply.

In settling the BGA lawsuit, Emanuel agreed to turn over about 2,700 pages of emails that his personal attorney determined were government-related in nature.

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A look at how Mayor Rahm Emanuel tried to capitalize on his meeting today with President-Elect Donald Trump, both politically with Latinos and also on policies that could benefit Chicago. 

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Update: Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he had a "very good" meeting with President-Elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower in New York. The mayor urged Trump not to move to deport Dreamers, defended the city's sanctuary city status while also talking about transportation spending and the city's community college system. More details here:

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