A former Uber executive has been fined $90,000 by the Chicago Board of Ethics for illegally lobbying Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
In a decision last week, the board said that David Plouffe, Uber's former senior vice president of policy and strategy and a former adviser to former President Barack Obama, had solicited Emanuel on Uber's behalf without registering as a lobbyist.
The board became aware of Plouffe's actions after Emanuel released personal emails in December in response to a lawsuit filed by the Better Government Association and the Chicago Tribune. The mayor had been accused of using his private email to conduct city business.
In one email that was released, Plouffe asked Emanuel -- who also served in the Obama administration -- to ease airport regulations for Uber. The email was sent on Nov. 20, 2015, but Plouffe did not register as a lobbyist for the company until April 13, 2016.
Under a city ordinance, individuals have five business days to register after an initial solicitation. They are fined $1,000 each day they go unregistered. Plouffe, who quit Uber in January to join Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's philanthropy, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, did not contest the allegations.
In his email to Emanuel, Plouffe wrote that the city was charging too many fees for Uber drivers for airport pickups and drop-offs compared with taxi drivers. He also complained that drivers were required to include signs on their vehicles to indicate they were designated for airport pickups. Plouffe argued that the signs could block drivers' vision.
"Assume both of us thought the airport issue was settled and we would never have to discuss again, but unfortunately two significant new hurdles were introduced," Plouffe wrote. "Coming to you because of their severity that would prevent us from operating."
Uber has a history of running up against local regulations, from its early days as an on-demand livery service skirting municipal taxi laws to its refusal to register its self-driving test vehicles in California.