One Huge Scandal, Not a Thousand Little Ones

Daley Is the Enemy of Democracy

Mayor Daley’s City Hall hiring and election scandals spread like a flu virus from Chicago to Cook County to the State of Illinois to Washington, D.C. Before Richard M. Daley was elected to his first term in 1989, he started to rig hiring to recruit job applicants and potential city workers who were willing to campaign for him. Daley’s rigged hiring system would still be going on today if the FBI did not uncover it in 2004.

Daley’s campaign workers elected various Cook County commissioners, state representatives, state senators, governors, presidents, but only one mayor. Daley’s campaign army made Daley the Boss and King Maker. The candidates that Daley put in office had to be completely beholden to the King or else the King would destroy them.

Daley-backed candidates were not free to follow their consciences or the will of their constituents. Chicago politics has a golden rule: “Follow Daley or else.” The potential threat from Daley’s campaign army made sure elected officials in city, county, and state governments carried out his wishes. And if Daley’s political might put candidates in office, Daley’s political might could remove them.

Most campaigns are not won and lost on ideology or platforms. The two biggest deciding factors of elections are campaign contributions and campaign workers. Daley made sure he had plenty of both. Daley deliberately kept Chicago’s campaign financing and ethics laws weak so he could build an insurmountable campaign war chest.

Daley’s millions of dollars in campaign funds were in addition to the thousands of illegal campaign workers that Chicago taxpayers paid for. The overwhelming advantages that Daley and his cronies had over political competitors made them arrogant and corrupt.

The inability to hold Daley and his political allies accountable at the polls has led to massive city, county, and state corruption. The more political power Daley and his allies have, the more they use their power to secure and expand their political clout. For Daley and his supporters, it is not about serving the people; it’s all about political power and political spoils.

Daley’s use of every and all means possible to silence his critics and eliminate political competition is the reason why Richard M. Daley is the enemy of democracy.

Daley’s abuse of power has led to a culture of corruption. As long as Daley and his allies are regularly elected, city, county, and state workers are free to do as they wish. Daley and his political cronies care more about protecting their political power than they do about protecting you or your wallet.

The Daley power mongers set a bad example for public employees. Daley and his powerful allies are negative role models. Why should public employees obey the law when the political sponsors and leaders who recruited and hired them do not?

Federal court testimony describes how Daley’s precinct workers campaign to elect state reps and senators. Once in office, these Illinois reps and senators pass legislation that is highly favorable to Daley. In spite of one Chicago political scandal after another, the Illinois state legislature for years refused to regulate and strengthen campaign financing and ethics laws.

Instead of passing laws to hold Daley and his political machine accountable for continual corruption, the IL legislature passed laws that give Daley even more power. The legislature’s refusal to take action to stop Chicago corruption is proof that the scandals all come from one and the same Chicago source.

The people who were involved in rigging city jobs, the Hired Truck scandal, and virtually every other public misconduct case in IL are all current or former members of the same Chicago political machine. Those convicted of corruption range from City Clerk of Chicago to deputy commissioners. All have one thing in common: they are or were all influential Daley allies.

Rod Blagojevich honed his political skills in a Chicago ward organization before he was elected governor and arrested for crimes he allegedly committed while in office.

Daley’s low political standards for the city, county, and state have been adopted by politicians and public employees. Chicago-style Daley politics is based on close personal relationships between Chicago political machine members. These mob-style political relationships were made famous in Milton Rakove’s book “We Don’t Want Nobody, Nobody Sent.” Any person wishing to join the Chicago machine must have a current member vouch for him or her.

Chicago political machine members insist on a close and cozy relationship among themselves. That is another reason why there is one huge political scandal, not a thousand little ones.

Even if you don’t live in Chicago you should care about the city’s election for mayor. The Chicago scandal has led to Daley allies taking over Cook County government too. Mayor Daley’s brother John Daley is a Cook County Commissioner and Finance Committee chairman. “He who has the gold makes the rules.” John Daley has your gold, and he decides how your money is spent. If you live in a Cook County suburb like Niles, Park Ridge, or Skokie, to name a few, the corruption in Chicago means you pay more taxes.

The president of the Illinois Senate and the speaker of the House are Chicago Democrats who conspire with Daley to marginalize your vote. Chicago politicians have used their offices and election-rigging schemes to hijack state government. If you live in downstate IL, say, DuPage or Kankakee County, the rigged Chicago elections have violated your civil rights. The Chicago political machine unduly elects enough state state reps and state senators who are loyal to Daley and House Speaker Mike Madigan to rule the Illinois House of Representatives and State Senate.

Once the machine’s state reps and state senators are in office, they handcuff the governor to make sure the machine gets what it wants from Illinois chief executive. Rule number one: Daley-backed state reps and senators take care of themselves and their cronies first. With so many politicians putting themselves first, it’s no wonder our city and state finances are in shambles.

Stone already helped to create two statewide campaign financing laws that make politicians like Daley accountable for what they do in office. Give Stone your support, and he’ll propose many more reforms to take control away from greedy politicians and give it back to honest people like you.