Anna Valencia, the current Chicago city clerk and a candidate for Illinois secretary of state, faces criticism regarding hundreds of official emails to or about her husband from her taxpayer-funded city account.
The issue, first raised by opponent Alexi Giannoulias’ campaign, concerns nearly 700 emails sent to or regarding her husband Reyahd Kazmi, who became a lobbyist for Monterrey Security in the fall of 2017.
Monterrey, which started with Santiago Solis, the brother of former Ald. Danny Solis, has received millions of dollars in city contracts over the years at Soldier Field, large COVID-19 vaccine facilities as well as assisting police during the civil unrest of 2020.
Shortly after Valencia’s husband Kazmi’s contract with Monterrey began, Valencia reached out to the company’s CEO for help to land new sports partners for her CityKey program that replaced the former Municipal ID.
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In January 2019, she thanked the CEO for the introductions, and three months later in April, she forwarded the Chicago Fire’s term sheet to her husband once the soccer club was interested.
That same month, Valencia asked her own director of intergovernmental and community affairs, “when are you sitting down with” Reyahd.
There’s also an email in April 2019 about a meeting with the mayor’s staff on the census that Valencia “might be slightly late” because she had a meeting with Reyahd right before.
Valencia’s campaign compared the email issue to a strategy former President Trump's campaign used against Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“She (Clinton) cut corners too. It bit her in the back," said Harold Krent, the dean of the Kent College of Law said. "It’s just a very good practice to separate government-supplied emails from the private.”
In March of 2021, Valencia also sent an official email nominating her husband for an award from Chicago United's Business Leaders of Color program and asked why she had not received confirmation of her nomination.
“The better course is any government official to separate governmental business and private business," Krent added. "At the very least, it will remove the cloud that now hangs over Valencia’s campaign, because the question is why did she contact so much with her husband.”
The Valencia campaign denounced what it called “a sexist implication that Valencia’s husband dictates her decisions.”
Her campaign has released a new digital ad that says it was Giannoulias who urged voters to support Donald Trump’s presidency after he was elected.
The Giannoulias campaign fired back, stating the ad was “Valencia’s attempt to change the subject.” Giannnoulias has also called for Valencia to release all of the emails.