David Sirota of the International Business Times reports that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel took in possibly illegal campaign donations from companies that manage city pensions. In his article, Sirota writes:
Executives at investment firms that manage Chicago pension funds have since 2011 poured more than $600,000 in contributions into Mayor Rahm Emanuel's campaign operation and political action committees (PACs) that support him, according to documents reviewed by International Business Times.
These contributions appear to flout federal rules banning companies that manage pension funds from financing the campaigns of officials with authority over pension systems, say legal experts.
The contributions also potentially conflict with an executive order Emanuel himself signed in 2011 prohibiting city contractors and subcontractors from making campaign donations to city officials.
According to Sirota, Emanuel has received checks from 31 finance industry execs including Kelly Welsh, formerly of Northern Trust and currently chief counsel at the U.S. Commerce Department.
"The management of municipal pensions should be totally transparent and free of political influence," Arthur Levitt, ex-Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, told the outlet. "The acceptance of contributions by city officials from advisers managing city funds, in my book, smells like bribery."
An Emanuel representative did not respond to request for comment.
Emanuel aimed to punish pervasive corruption inside City Hall when he succeeded former Mayor Richard M. Daley nearly four years ago.
His mayoral rival, 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti, released a statement soon after the Sirota story was published Thursday, calling for an SEC investigation and an internal city audit as well as for Emanuel to return the "tainted" campaign cash.
“This week we have seen back-to-back financial failures from Mr. Emanuel, and blatant violations of the public trust. He is profiting from pay-to-play with your children’s education funds and pensioners safety net," Fioretti said.