A conservative watchdog group is suing Mayor Daley and the city for failing to turn over information about the Obama administration's involvement in Chicago's failed Olympic bid.
The Washington, D.C.-based Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court Thursday accusing the Daley administration of failing to respond to a FOIA request sent in September.
The group thinks there's something fishy about the White House granting Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett an ethics waiver to help spearhead Chicago's bid and is seeking a vast array of documents to help prove its case.
Among the information the group seeks is, "[a]ll correspondence between the Office of the Mayor and President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel [sic], Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, the White House, and/or the Office of Olympic, Paralympic, and Youth Sport regarding the City of Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics."
"The Obama White House's failed Olympics bid is a scandal," Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a press release. "Why else would Obama's 'Olympics Czar' Valerie Jarrett need an 'ethics waiver' to lead the campaign to bring the Olympics to Chicago? Mayor Daley's illegal refusal to release documents about the Olympics bid is a rather transparent effort to protect President Obama and other key White House officials."
Jarrett, who was a vice chair of the Chicago 2016 bid committee before joining the White House, needed the waiver, according to a Tribune report at the time, "because the White House ethics pledge prohibits appointees from dealing with matters 'substantially related' to previous employers or clients."
Jarrett's waiver, and the White House's full rationale for it, can be seen here.
Judicial Watch said it filed its FOIA request on Sept. 5, that the mayor's office acknowledged receipt on Oct. 1, granted itself an additional seven days for processing, but then failed to send anything. Following an administrative appeal by Judicial Watch, a response was due by Nov. 3.
The city did respond to the group's first FOIA request telling them it did not have the records for Chicago 2016, which was a separate legal entity, and telling the group that their request was too broad -- it could not possibly search for any and all mention of Obama or members of his staff.
"We're willing to work with them and we haven't asserted that anything they're asking for is exempt," the city's law department spokeswoman Jennifer Hoyle told the Huffington Post. "At the very least, though, they're going to have to narrow their request."
Hoyle added that the city has not yet seen the lawsuit but would provide "responsive non-exempt" records.
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