IG alleges 4 MWRD commissioners used state email accounts for campaign work

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CHICAGO — Cook County’s Inspector General is cracking down on one agency’s use of government email for political purposes.

WGN Investigates obtained a copy of a secret IG report that alleges some Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioners were emailing employees about political work and fundraising.

The report from IG Patrick Blanchard said four commissioners used political email accounts, “to solicit MWRD employees … for political purposes.”

The employees, he found, were sent invitations to political fundraisers, and emails offering ways to “donate” to political campaigns. One commissioner even emailed an employee about election work for another official.

The report didn’t name the commissioners. Blanchard says a county ordinance prevents him from releasing more details.

The MWRD oversees the reclamation and treatment of waste and stormwater for the city and suburbs. It’s overseen by nine elected commissioners and has over 2,000 employees and an annual budget of $1 billion.

A MWRD spokeswoman tells WGN Investigates that commissioners have asked their political campaigns to “remove any District email addresses from their databases to prevent such an occurrence from happening again.” However, the spokesperson said commissioners who solicited water reclamation district employees for political support will not face consequences.

Commissioners Cameron Davis and Mariyana Spuropoulos both told WGN Investigates they are not among those who used government email for political matters.

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