The kid seemed out of place right from the start. It was a meeting of Latino non-profits in Pilsen, called by the Gery Chico.
Lawyer Marty Castro, a Chico volunteer, went around the room, asking all the participants to identify themselves. Everyone gave their name, and their organization. Except this kid.
“I’m Jim,” he said. “I’m just here to learn a little bit more about Mr. Chico’s education reform policies.”
About 15 minutes into the meeting, Castro noticed that the kid’s arm was concealing something that resembled a dictaphone. So Castro walked over to get a closer look.
“Jim, are you recording this session?” he asked. “You know, that’s a violation of the Illinois Eavesdropping Act. Who are you with?”
The kid finally admitted he was with Rahm Emanuel’s campaign. Castro asked him to delete the recording, and leave the room.
Now, the Chico campaign is fuming about Emanuel’s use of “trackers” to record their candidate’s activities. It’s normal for campaigns to uses trackers to keep an eye and an ear on the opposition, but Chico spokeswoman Brooke Anderson is accusing Emanuel’s trackers of concealing their identities at Chico campaign events. The campaign released a video of Jim’s outing, as well as the outing of an Emanuel tracker who at first said he was attending Wednesday’s endorsement by Ald. George Cardenas “on my own,” but finally admitted, “I work for Rahm.”
“You can’t talk about transparency and send campaign workers who spy and misidentify themselves,” Anderson said.
Emanuel spokesman Ben LaBolt defended the campaign’s use of trackers, telling Ward Room, “If attending a public event to see what is said about the campaign is espionage, Tom Clancy is going to be mighty disappointed.”