Illinois and Cook County still ain't ready for reform. Neither is Chicago

Timothy Evans and Toni Preckwinkle. (Chicago Tribune staff)

Timothy Evans and Toni Preckwinkle. (Chicago Tribune staff)

Borrowing from the legendary ‘Paddy” Bauler, the crooked alderman and saloonkeeper who in 1939 pronounced Chicago “ain’t ready for reform,” the same holds true more than 80 years later.

Cook County Board Democratic Boss Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Chief Judge Tim Evans and the lapdogs who still contribute millions to House Speaker Michael Madigan have demonstrated it to be so.

Preckwinkle and Evans engineered  a Kremlin-like political poisoning of  Cook County Judge Michael Toomin because he ordered a special prosecutor to investigate State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s handing Jesse Smollet a get-out-of-jail free card. Preckwinkle led the move to not endorse Toomin for retention in the coming election even though, as John Kass noted, the judge is “a well-respected, veteran judge.”

Here’s the sad part: Preckwinkle began her career as a progressive, anti-machine alderman from Hyde Park. Evans, her close ally, was once the voice of reform-minded independents representing the black community and was seen as a fitting successor to Chicago’s first black mayor, Harold Washington, the premier anti-machine politician.

They now have embraced the same autocratic methods of Richard J. Daley and the demonic Democratic machine, punishing those who are “disloyal” and who put the public interest ahead of party subservience. Lord Acton was right:

  • Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
  • Despotic power is always accompanied by corruption of morality.
  • Authority that does not exist for Liberty is not authority but force.
  • Absolute power demoralizes. 

Which leads us to Michael Madigan.

As telling as the Toomin’s knifing is, the story about Madigan’s obese campaign funds might even top it. Crain’s Chicago Business reports:

Madigan’s war chest is overflowing: Heading into the final stretch of the election season, and despite being implicated in a ComEd scandal, the four funds House Speaker Michael Madigan controls are flush with campaign cash.

How much would that be? About $25 million.

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune)

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune)

And despite Madigan’s alleged linked to the scandal (he hasn’t been indicted and has maintained his innocence despite being the apparent official named in the indictment), the money keeps flowing in.

Madigan controls four campaign funds, the largest of which—Friends of Michael J Madigan—raised roughly $10 million in the last year alone, despite federal raids on the homes and offices of many of Madigan’s closest associates launching in summer 2019. That committee has raised $1 million since the ComEd deferred prosecution agreement implicated Madigan in July, with big donations from the Chicago Land Operators Joint Labor-Management PAC, LiUNA Chicago Laborers District Council and the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters PAC.

By all means, keep the money flowing. In the immortal words of Sgt. Schultz, they “know nothing.”




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