COPA Head Sharon Fairley Moves Forward in Attorney General Race

Sharon Fairley, the chief administrator of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, is moving forward as a possible candidate for Illinois attorney general.

A spokeswoman for the new police oversight agency known as COPA said in September that Fairley "is definitely considering a run for Attorney General," but declined to offer more details.

Since then, Fairley has taken the step of creating a political committee to support her run, filing to create “Friends for Fairley” on Monday, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections. 

Fairley’s committee will support her run for the office that will soon be vacated by Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and sources told NBC 5 she has begun asking supporters for campaign donations.

When reached by phone Tuesday, Fairley said “it’s an interesting time” and she was far too busy to speak. She then added “I will let you know” and “I appreciate you understanding,” before abruptly hanging up the phone – leaving no room for any further questions. [[445832893, C]]

Fairley was thrust into the public eye amid the uproar in the wake of the high-profile Laquan MacDonald shooting. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel tapped her to lead the beleaguered Independent Police Review Authority when the IPRA’s former head abruptly resigned in December 2015.

Fairley was then appointed in 2016 to serve as the first chief administrator of COPA, a role she assumed when the office officially opened on Sept. 15 - just 10 days before news broke of her potential departure.

Prior to leading IPRA and COPA, the former federal prosecutor and assistant attorney general served as the general counsel of Chicago's Office of the Inspector General.

While Fairley has not officially confirmed she plans to resign, multiple reports said she has already informed Emanuel of her intent to run for the position of attorney general.

Once word leaked about Fairley being interested in leaving COPA, Emanuel said he will “create a process that has input to have a set of names.”

Emanuel’s spokesman Adam Collins told NBC 5 Tuesday “we will have more information very shortly” when asked about a potential replacement.

Calls to the Friends for Fairley Committee have not been returned, and the Board of Elections’ website did not list any contributions as of Tuesday afternoon.

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