A former Barack Obama campaign manager who was also once a senior executive for Uber was fined $90,000 after he illegally lobbied Mayor Rahm Emanuel for the rideshare app, the Chicago Tribune is reporting.
David Plouffe violated city ethics rules after he failed to register as a lobbyist, the newspaper reports, after he reached out to Emanuel regarding regulations for Uber picking up passengers at O’Hare and Midway airports.
Plouffe’s ethics violation, which the city's Board of Ethics reportedly voted 5-0 on, came to light after Emanuel released a cache of personal emails under a pair of open records lawsuits by the Tribune and the Better Government Association.
The message was sent from Plouffe to the mayor on Nov. 20 of 2015, according to the Tribune.
"Assume both of us thought the airport issue was settled and we would never have to discuss again, but unfortunately two significant new hurdles were introduced," Plouffe reportedly wrote in the email. "Coming to you because of their severity that would prevent us from operating. We were all set to announce Monday we were beginning pickups."
Plouffe then details Uber’s concerns, the newspaper reports, about pickup fees and required airport placards in its registered vehicles.
Emanuel responded by saying it was “impossible” for him to address the issue from China and urged Plouffe to discuss the issue with his staff in Chicago, according to the Tribune report.
The Board of Ethics determined Uber and Plouffe did not dispute the allegations that there was a violation of Chicago’s lobbying ordinance, according to the newspaper. Plouffe and Uber did however argue they should only have to pay $1,000, the Tribune reports.
According to the newspaper, the board thought such a low fine would encourage unregistered lobbying activity.