Chicago is one of the best examples of the worst failures of the Democratic Party, and the city just proved its status as the worst of the worst once again this week as a former city alderman, who was one of the most influential Democrats of his day, was found guilty of massive corruption.
On Thursday, former Chicago Alderman Ed Burke was found guilty on 13 of 14 counts of corruption, including racketeering, bribery and attempted extortion, WLS-TV reported after the verdict was read.
Burke, who served on the Chicago City Council from 1969 to his resignation in May, was once one of the most powerful aldermen in city hall, but according to the results of the trial, he also spent years using the power of his office to do political favors for cash to enrich himself, his family and his close friends.
“This case was about bribery and extortion occurring at the highest level of Chicago city government,” said U.S. Attorney Morris Pasqual. The prosecutor blasted the alderman’s corruption in no uncertain terms, saying in his remarks to the press that “Burke has his hand out for money. He tied the giving of official action by him to the giving of money to him.”
On trial at the same time was Peter Andrews, a former 14th Ward aide for Burke, who was found not guilty on all counts. A third defendant in the trial, Lake Forest real estate developer Charles Cui, was found guilty on all the counts he faced.
This particular corruption trial focused on several instances of corruption, including Burke’s now confirmed act of extorting money from the Field Museum to benefit a close friend. He attempted to force a Burger King owner to hire his tax appeal firm in exchange for favorable permits passed down for the business from city hall, and a second case where he promised favorable action in city hall only if a developer hired his tax appeal firm.
U.S. Attorney Pasqual added that he hoped the case would serve as a warning to other Chicago power brokers.
“Alderman Burke is a very powerful alderman. This case has had massive publicity, and I’d like to think that public officials who are out there who are tempted to start down this path will be on further notice that the federal government is out there, the FBI is out there,” Pasqual said, according to WFLD-TV.
Prosecutors revealed more than 40 witnesses, one of whom was convicted Alderman Danny Solis, who had worn a wire for the FBI to record Burke’s lawless acts. Solis recorded hundreds of videos for prosecutors that provided a mountain of evidence against a long list of corrupt Chicago-area politicians.
The nine women and three men on the jury deliberated for 23 hours before reaching their verdict.
Burke, who is 79, will be sentenced on June 19. His partner in crime, Charles Cui, faces sentencing on June 17.
The extortion counts carry 20-year sentences, the soliciting counts carry a ten-year sentence, and lying to the FBI includes a five-year sentence. Both Burke and Cui could face the rest of their lives in jail.
Illinois leads the nation in the number of public officials who have ended up in jail for corruption. Four of the last 10 governors, for instance, have gone to jail, and two others were put on trial, but acquitted. One is still in prison, the Illinois Policy Institute noted.
While the number has grown, in 2020 it was reported that Illinois had 891 federal convictions for public corruption since the year 2000, the lion’s share of which came out of Chicago, WLS-TV reported at the time. The conviction rate makes Illinois number one in the nation for convictions of public officials.
The media often ignore Illinois when speaking of the lofty work of the Democratic Party and for good reason. Illinois is the perfect example of what Democratic Party policies look like. Massive public corruption, lost jobs, high taxes, bad school systems, high crime and murder rates — this is what Democrats create. And Illinois is the perfect example of the outcome.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.