War of words: Lightfoot, Garcia exchange unpleasantries in Chicago mayoral race

Congressman Chuy Garcia and Mayor Lori Lightfoot clashed publicly on Monday after a joint interview behind closed doors with the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board.

"She is desperate. She is fabricating and trying to spin things that do not exist," Garcia said.

On a day when her own campaign admitted misconduct was on the agenda of City Hall's Ethics Board, Mayor Lightfoot again tried to link Rep. Chuy Garcia to indicted former House Speaker Mike Madigan.

Lightfoot herself dealt with the powerful Madigan, but claims Garcia was different.


"And it's not just about amassing power for people from his community. We understand that. It's about what he did. The means did not justify the ends," Lightfoot said.

The Tribune reported Garcia’s name was mentioned by others during a conversation recorded by the FBI.

"It says I’m not being investigated, period. It says that I was mentioned in, uh, what was the exact word? ‘Superficially’ in a conversation that someone had," Garcia said.

As the congressman and mayor spoke, the Chicago Board of Ethics was meeting in a closed, executive session. On the board's agenda: the Lightfoot campaign's controversial move to use official emails to recruit volunteers among students and faculty at the city colleges and public schools.

"I’m confident that what any investigator will find is this was a mistake, not born of malice, not born of intentionality to break any rules," Lightfoot said.

The mayor also released a campaign poll, showing her and Paul Vallas in a statistical tie, with Garcia trailing by a few percentage points. But curiously, after complaining about a completely transparent voter opinion survey we reported on last week, Lightfoot was not similarly transparent about details of her poll. We plan to follow up later this week.