Rahm’s Meaningless Promises
Mayor Rahm Emanuel told U.S. Magistrate Judge Sidney Schenkier that Chicagoans should demand an honest government. This is very ironic since Emanuel’s own dishonesty was one of the reasons that made this federal court hearing necessary. Emanuel’s election victory to congress was the result of political corruption that led to a federal judge appointing a monitor to oversee City of Chicago personnel from 2004 to 2014. Before the FBI halted Chicago’s political and criminal scams that went undetected for decades, trucking company owners paid bribes to city employees and donated campaign contributions to politicians like Emanuel in return for the city paying the trucking companies $60 million a year to have their trucks sit idle in city parking lots. After pleading guilty, disgraced Deputy Water Department Commissioner Donald Tomczak testified at Robert Sorich’s federal court trial that up to 225 of his unlawful political soldiers campaigned for Emanuel when Emanuel ran for congress. In another federal court trial a second witness corroborated Tomzcak’s testimony about Emanuel’s ill-gotten congressional victory. He said that Emanuel joined his illicit congressional campaign workers for beers after they campaigned door to door on Emanuel’s behalf.
If reporters inquired about Emanuel’s tainted congressional victory, Emanuel responded with, I’m not wallowing in the past, I’m looking forward to the future. Emanuel doesn’t even bother to deny his involvement in this massive scandal because he knows the evidence against him is irrefutable federal court testimony. The testimony implicating Emanuel is irrefutable because the federal court witnesses would have had their prison time extended for lying. How can voters trust Emanuel to provide honest Chicago government when he hasn’t been honest about his involvement in a scandal that included 60 convictions and the federal court monitoring city politicians and personnel for 10 years?
Emanuel previously lied about remaining vigilante against corruption and cooperating with Chicago’s inspector general. More recently Emanuel has failed again to combat corruption as he promised in federal court. Emanuel continued to support Chicago Public School’s CEO Forrest Claypool after the Chicago Public School’s inspector general recommended firing Claypool for ethics violations and Claypool’s attempt to cover-up his misdeeds. Below is Emanuel’s federal court statement that contains his lie of leading a city government that keeps the people’s interest first.
“Today is your day. After living under a cloud of mistrust for decades, you can be confident that your city government operates in a way that keeps your interests, and only your interests, first. But you too have a role to play going forward. Always demand professionalism. Always demand transparency. Always demand a government that is honest – because you deserve nothing less. ”
Emanuel’s support of CEO Claypool came after 99 percent of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) members approved a no-confidence vote in Claypool. Emanuel won’t dare claim his support of Claypool was in the best interest of CPS students, teachers, and parents when nearly every CTU member expressed no confidence in Claypool. After Claypool did not live up to Emanuel’s standards of honesty, professionalism, and transparency (see Emanuel’s quote above), 99% of the CTU members demanded Emanuel’s handpicked school board fire CEO Claypool. Instead of Emanuel following through on the words and values that he espoused in federal court, Emanuel stood up for his corrupt and disgraced CEO whom he had previously appointed.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel Put His and His Cronies’ Interest First
Since 1972 thirty-three Chicago aldermen have plead guilty, or either a judge or jury found them guilty. Thirty-three convicted aldermen is seven more aldermen necessary for a quorum to hold a City Council meeting. The staggering Chicago alderman conviction rate is one alderman is convicted every 16 months. In other words, 33 of the last 100 alderman have had a criminal conviction. Each guilty aldermen was trying to line his or her pocket with money they had no business taking. Soon the number of convicted aldermen will most likely rise to thirty-four. In Dec. 2016 Ald. Willie Cochran was charged with 11 counts of wire fraud, two counts of extortion and two counts of bribery. Allegedly Cochran stole charitable contributions intended for poor children and seniors and used most of his ill-gotten money to gamble.
Cochran was charged with stealing charitable funds two years after Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in federal court, “… you can be confident that your city government operates in a way that keeps your interests, and only your interests, first.” Is Rahm Emanuel’s silence his way of maintaining Ald. Cochran was acting in the interest of the people of Chicago when he stole money from a charity to pay for his gambling? Why hasn’t Mayor Moral High Ground called for Cochran’s resignation since a grand jury indicted Cochran more than one year ago?
There were two inspector general ordinances proposed the day Mayor Emanuel was complicit with the 25 aldermen who voted to restrict the Chicago inspector general’s authority. After the City Council vote IG Joe Ferguson said, “Today’s oversight transfer legislation nudges the ball forward, but leaves Chicago with a form of Council oversight that is still separate (procedurally) and unequal (substantively), from the rest of City government.”
Chicago has no frontline defense to stop corrupt aldermen. The FBI and Justice Department were responsible for the investigations and successful prosecutions of all 33 convicted aldermen. Four of the 33 aldermen were convicted of having ghost employees on their city council committees. Most likely former Alderman Tony Laurino would have been the fifth alderman convicted for having ghost employees on his City Council committee. Laurino did not officially make the aldermen hall of shame for providing 35 no-show jobs because he died before his trial. In spite of Mayor Emanuel’s federal court pledge to have a Chicago government that keeps residents’ interest first, the ordinance that handcuffed the inspector general’s office only protects the interest of Emanuel and his crony aldermen.
Given Mayor Emanuel’s federal court promises to remain vigilante against corruption and lead a Chicago government that works only for the people’s interest, you would have expected Emanuel to move heaven and earth to pass an inspector general ordinance that could actually fight City Council corruption. Furthermore, the staggering conviction rate of one aldermen every 16 months and four aldermen previously convicted of ghost pay-rolling are other compelling reasons that should have persuaded Emanuel to put the full force of the mayor’s office behind an ordinance that gives the IG oversight of aldermanic committees and programs.
By allowing aldermen to block the IG from investigating their committees and programs, Mayor Emanuel forsook his core values for a political purpose; he wants aldermen to vote his way on other matters. Emanuel garnering citizens’ votes on election day is easy compared to securing an alderman’s vote. To win the next election, Emanuel will tell voters what they want to hear—like the hollow promises Emanuel made in federal court. But aldermen desire something more than Emanuel’s meaningless rhetoric for their vote. They want something concrete and tangible in return for their support of Emanuel’s legislation.
Aldermen are indebted to Emanuel because Emanuel protected the aldermen from the IG investigating their committees and programs. Lousy legislation is virtually guaranteed because Emanuel’s lackey aldermen will provide Emanuel with the votes he wants regardless of how bad Emanuel’s legislation is for taxpayers. You’ll see more aldermen going to jail and City Council waste because Emanuel agreed to block the IG from fully investigating aldermanic committees and programs.
This is a typical Chicago politics win-win—a win for the Mayor Emanuel and a win for the aldermen who are in cahoots with the mayor. But it is not a win for the people’s interests that Emanuel pledged to protect in federal court. Rahm, shame on you for not honoring your promise to always put the citizen’s interest first.