Into my inbox yesterday dropped over a hundred pages of email exchanges between Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns and others.
A combination of official and campaign emails for Burns show up in the following exchange after the campaign learned that Congressman Randy Hultgren was not going to endorse Burns as he expected.
They were from his official email account, the one that says, “firstname.lastname@example.org,” just as you see above.
Gathered through a Freedom of Information request, I’m told.
Nothing particularly out of the ordinary about using email to communicate with others.
Except in this case, it’s about Burns’ campaign for Chairman of the Kane County Board against Chris Lauzen.
That might raise some eyebrows.
Let’s look at an email chain that starts on Saturday, January 14th, and ends on Wednesday, January 18th. With these emails one has to start at the bottom and read up.
It’s from Pat Brady, presumably the Chairman of the Illinois State Republican Central Committee.
He emails Burns at his office address asking him to call because “I want to get this fund raising back on track.”
Since personal or campaign email addresses are sometimes hard to find, while a mayor’s is easy, perhaps one could understand why it was used.
But for Burns to reply using his office email certainly does raise some questions.
Phone numbers are exchanged and one would assume they got together that way.
Then, on the 17th, Brady writes about opponent Lauzen’s shortcomings. “Pound him on this…Nobody more ethically challenged than Chris.”
Burns replies, “Consider it done!”
Let’s look at Batavia Township Republican Chairman Ellen Nottke’s use of the official email of Mayor Burns. The chain starts the same day as Brady’s.
The discussion is about how Lauzen is about to hold a press conference on transparency and how to reply. It veers off in the direction of who could be convinced to criticize Lauzen. They plan to hand out a Sunshine Report at the press conference.
There is indirect input from current County Board Chairman and State Senate candidate Karen McConnaughay about how people other than candidate Burns needs to be criticizing Lauzen.
Some blacked out adviser emails the official email address saying that McConnaughay suggests a Democrat running for County Board Chairman, Sue Klinkhamer and Bill Wyatt.
Former Kane County Board members Bill Wyatt and Jan Carlosn are mentioned by Nottke. She also suggests getting Chicago Democrats who “hate lauzen” to sign a letter saying he doesn’t work well with Democrats, that he is known as “sen. no.”
On January 20th, Nottke was still using the Mayor’s official email address to ask whether he had received an internet contribution from Andy Faville.
On February 1st, the official email address is still being used in this discussion of Congressman Randy Hultgren’s unexpected intention to endorse Lauzen for County Board Chairman.
Burns is clearly disappointed.
Using his campaign email address he writes,
“Since the ‘decision’ Sean [McCarthy] has not been able to get in touch w/ Randy.
“Sean did mention that he and Jerry Clarke asked Randy to call me…to date not a god damn word.
“Apparently Randy’s busy @ a Prayer Dinner in D.C. Won’t he be surprised when he learns there is no god.”
The email exchange about signs below has Nottke using a non-official blackberry email address, but Burns replies using his mayoral email address.
On February 3rd Nottke emails the Daily Herald article about the joint interview of the candidates to Burns’ Blackberry, but Burns replies from his government email account.
On February 4th, Bob Mann sends a congratulatory email to the Mayor’s official email about calling Lauzen out. Burns uses his official email to reply.
The same day, a Saturday, Burns uses the same email to ask that a modified “Bob Mann” letter go out “today.”
Carolyn Zinke also sends a letter of praise for the negative comments about Lauzen in the Daily Herald to the Geneva address. Again, Burns replies using the government email.
On Feb. 6th Burns again uses his government email for political purposes.
Using the same email, Burns and staff try to figure out how to get into the Holmstad, a seniors’ residence. A “Sue” (Klinghamer?) is involved.
The same day, Burns uses his official email to follow advice from Pat Brady to personally call Michael Donahue, V.P. of Geneva’s Midwest Wind Energy for a $500 contribution.
Feb. 7th same routine. Pat Brady had a letter he wanted put in Patch and there was a discussion of a meeting that night.
Only another Freedom of Information request will determine if Mayor Burns is still using his official email address for political purposes with less than four weeks left in the campaign.