From Seattle writer and consultant Matt Rosenberg...

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Chicago Aldermen Running Political Operations On City Property?

September 12, 2005

The Illinois Leader, an online conservative publication focusing in part on the dank moral cesspool of Chicago Democratic party politics, reports Cook County Republicans have filed a complaint with the state board of elections that Democratic city aldermen are using their city-funded ward offices not only for constituent services, but political operations as well. Without properly dividing up the operations, and paying the public landlord for space used for political purposes, the GOP alleges, based on review of public records. Yes, the allegations are probably true. Yes, this kind of thing has been going on forever. And finally, yes, there are worse, and fairly recent episodes of public corruption in my old hometown of Chicago.

But regarding Chicago politics especially, I'm firm believer in the "slippery slope" corruption standard, which might also be termed the "broken windows" theory of government corruption. Winking at the supposedly "little things," like political operations on city property, by employees punching a city timeclock, paves the way for even worse abuses. And has been for years.

More on the current allegations from The Leader:

The allegation states that Democratic aldermen are illegally combining their political committee offices with their city funded aldermanic offices. Tom Swiss, the executive director of the Cook County Republican Party, submitted an affidavit in which he testified that an investigation of 16 different Democratic alderman offices revealed flagrant violations of the Illinois Election Code.

Based on the D-2 filings by 10 of the Democratic committees (6 committees are in further violation of State law because they haven’t filed as political organizations), Cross determined that the committees have not paid rent to the city for use of these offices, nor have they reported the use of these offices as in-kind political contributions.

The result is that political operations, campaigns and fund raising efforts are being carried out on city property using city funds.

....Furthermore, since the signage in front of these aldermanic offices often indicates the presence of the Democratic Committee headquarters, citizens are forced to enter a party office to request city services.

....Imagine for a minute that President Bush decided to move the Republican National Committee headquarters into the west wing of the White House. He then co-opted federal employees to make fund raising phone calls and stuff campaign mailers on the tax payer’s dime. He then added a sign reading “Republican National Committee Headquarters” above the Oval Office.

What can I say. Yes, he's a Democrat. But he knows The Machine for what it is, and - unlike Chicago's current mayor - he knows the fate of Chicago and its suburbs are inextricably linked, knowledge gained in part due to the reach of the U.S. Congressional district he currently represents. Run, Jesse (Jr.), run!

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Posted by Matt Rosenberg at September 12, 2005 05:13 PM

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