Tag: City Council

Nothing personal, everything structural: What Chicago needs from its new mayor

Rahm Emanuel shocked the political world earlier this month in announcing he will serve the rest of his term as a lame duck. Songs of rejoicing erupted from Chicagoans across the political spectrum, who see Emanuel’s exit as an opportunity for their preferred leader to push for their preferred interests on the fifth floor of City Hall.... Read more »

Chicago alderman indicted on federal charges of extortion, theft

Chicago Alderman Willie Cochran, 20th Ward, has been indicted on federal criminal charges. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois on Dec. 14 announced charges that Cochran “pocketed money from a charitable fund that was intended to help families and children in his South Side ward.” He was also charged with extortion... Read more »

Chief of staff for powerful Chicago alderman makes lobbying dough on the side

Chicago Alderman Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward, is one of Chicago’s most influential City Council members. His territory includes the city’s commercial center: River North and the Loop. As is the case throughout Chicago, local aldermen have tremendous sway over what gets built, how and when – perhaps none more so than Reilly. It’s concerning then... Read more »
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40 Chicago aldermen blow off annual ethics board hearing

The city of Chicago has a well-documented, longstanding, widespread problem with public corruption. The latest example can be found in the 20th Ward, where Alderman Willie Cochran is under federal investigation for his use of campaign funds. For reform-minded aldermen, annual budget hearings are an opportune time to address this problem. But at the Chicago... Read more »

Chicago alderman under FBI investigation for misuse of campaign funds

Alderman Willie Cochran, 20th Ward, is under federal investigation for his use of campaign funds, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The Sun-Times previously reported Cochran paid himself more than $115,000 from his campaign funds over a three-year period. Chicago City Council is one of the most corrupt political bodies in the nation. Over the past... Read more »

New ordinance would make it harder for Chicago City Council to tax and spend

Chicagoans are seeking shelter from a barrage of city tax hikes. The Windy City is home to the highest sales tax in the nation. It is in the midst of a record-breaking property tax hike and a water-sewer tax increase. Residents already shoulder the highest tax and fee burden in Illinois. But one alderman is proposing a simple yet potentially... Read more »
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Chicago aldermen using private emails for city business

For all the talk of email servers in the presidential race, you’d think Chicago aldermen would have learned their lesson by now: Don’t mix city business with private property. But 19 city aldermen are using private email accounts for their public duties, according to an Aug. 31 report from Project Six, a corruption watchdog group... Read more »

City workers turned aldermen shouldn’t get special treatment

It’s tough to find a job in Chicago. Especially one that pays six figures and comes with a potential million-dollar pension payout. But Alderman Sue Garza was lucky enough to snag one of those jobs in 2015 after winning a seat in City Council, representing the 10th Ward. Chicago aldermen are among the highest-paid city politicians... Read more »

Nothing to see here: Chicago aldermen run out the clock on their own oversight in wake of massive CPS scandal

Chicago’s perennial title as the nation’s “Capital of Corruption” was made all too real in October, as former Chicago Public Schools, or CPS, CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett pled guilty to steering millions of dollars in no-bid contracts to a former employer in exchange for the promise of millions more in kickbacks. So understandably, when Chicago Mayor... Read more »
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Muzzled: Chicago City Council’s corruption watchdog is about to go dark

Chicago aldermen can seem untouchable. Within their wards they typically operate with impunity, maintaining near-autocratic control over zoning, licenses, permits and more. But for a short time in 2010, public outcry was enough to spur change, and those same aldermen voted to establish an office dedicated solely to the scrutiny of City Council – rather... Read more »