On Monday, Rahm Emanuel will launch his coronation campaign for Chicago mayor with a "listening tour" of the city's neighborhoods. One imagines the ex-White House Chief of Staff gabbing with community residents and shaking hands with block club captains, perhaps even holding quick meetings inside neighbors' homes.
Those sessions are likely to be a bit different than the ones Rahm conducted during his White House tenure. Shortly before President Obama announced Friday that Emanuel would return to Chicago, the Sunlight Foundation published a list of official visitors to Emanuel's office. Besides politicians and journalists, more than a few titans from Chicago's business community arrived in the West Wing for sit-downs with Rahm, the logs show. Among the visitors: The Tribune Company's Sam Zell; John Rowe, from Exelon; Leo Melamed, from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange; representatives from Wight & Company; and John Borovicka (a former Emanuel staffer) and Thomas Lanctot, both from William Blair & Company.
Many of these names should be familar. We'll highlight just one here.
The clout-heavy William Blair & Company was the firm that first brought to the Daley administration the idea of privatizing the city's parking meter system. Blair was then chosen, sans a competitive bidding process, to advise Daley on the secretive deal. Later, Inspector General David Hoffman released a scathing report on the meter privatization, saying Blair estimated the meter system's value from the perspective of an private investor rather from the city's point of view. Yet Mr. Lanctot has continued to defend meter system leases. It seems reasonable to ask what Lanctot and Emanuel talked about during their two meetings late in 2009 and earlier this year.