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Emanuel Says Secret Campaign Fund Should Reveal Donors

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Rahm Emanuel at Save-A-Lot

Chicago Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel speaks at a press conference at a Save-A-Lot grocery store on the city’s South Side on March 3, 2011. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel said Thursday that a non-profit political organization backing pro-Emanuel aldermanic candidates should reveal the names of its contributors.

The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday that the non-profit group “For A Better Chicago” was endorsing eight aldermanic candidates in the April runoff election and that seven of those candidates have said Emanuel also is supporting them. As a non-profit, the group is allowed under federal law to keep secret the names of its donors and, to date, has not revealed their names.

Although the group was started by a previous Emanuel campaign manager, the mayor-elect said Thursday that his campaign and the group are “totally independent” from each other.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Mike Krauser reports

But Emanuel did say that he believes the group should disclose who its donors are, despite the federal law that allows them to protect the privacy of contributors.

“I think they should, even though the law says what the law says, they should let you know who’s financially backing them. That’s up to them to decide and I think they should do that,” Emanuel said. “Make sure that … who’s supporting you financially is available in public.”

The leader of the group has said they have not coordinated their efforts with Emanuel’s campaign but acknowledged they want pro-business, pro-Emanuel aldermen to get elected.

Emanuel said he will support aldermanic candidates who have endorsed his agenda for reforming city government, but that his efforts would be separate from anything For A Better Chicago might do.

“The candidates I’ll support will be the candidates I support because they endorse the agenda for reform and change … what I laid out in the election. And I’m going to be doing that individually, my way; that is, through my organization,” Emanuel said. “My efforts must be directed by me, by my political entities, not some third party. That’s a different group.”

Emanuel also noted that some of the candidates that For A Better Chicago supported before last week’s election had endorsed one of Emanuel’s rivals in the race for mayor.

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform has filed a complaint with the Illinois State Board of Elections, accusing For A Better Chicago of evading state campaign disclosure laws.

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