Chicago Elections Commission Dismissed Residency Challenges Against Former White House Chief of Staff
While the three-member board’s decision is likely to be taken to the courts, it is a major win for the former White House chief of staff, whose campaign has been mired in the residency controversy for months.
More than two dozen people filed challenges to Emanuel’s residency, pointing out that he’d rented his house when he left for Washington and that owning a home in Chicago and voting there wasn’t enough to prove legal residency.
Emanuel moved to Washington, D.C., in late 2008 to join President Obama’s administration as White House chief of staff but had argued that his intention was always to move back to Chicago.
He resigned from his White House position this fall and returned to the Windy City to begin his mayoral campaign right after Mayor Richard Daley announced he wouldn’t be seeking another term.
Chicago law requires that a candidate has to be a resident of the city for at least a year before running for office.
Emanuel cleared a major hurdle late last night when the hearing officer reported that Emanuel didn’t “abandon” his residency, and that satisfied the city’s residency requirements.
“The preponderance of the evidence establishes that the sole reason for the candidate’s absence from Chicago during 2009 and 2010 was by reason of his attendance to business of the United States,” hearing officer Joseph A. Morris said in his lengthy report. “It has not been established that the candidate, a resident of Chicago, abandoned his status as such a resident. In any event, his absence from Illinois during the time in question is excused, for purposes of the safeguarding and retention his status as a resident and elector, by express operation of Illinois law.”
But opponents who filed the legal challenge against Emanuel’s candicacy said the report misconstrued the law.
“This recommendation, I’m trying to guard my words, is shallow. It’s shallow in reciting the facts,” said Burt Odelson, the attorney spearheading the challenges. “I was extremely disappointed we had to wait that long for such a poor product. This wasn’t a difficult case. It only became difficult because of all of the objectors.”
By HUMA KHAN
Dec. 23, 2010
Source: ABC NEWS