Flawed government practices make Illinois and Chicago 'outliers,' says policy institute director
Austin Berg wants Chicago-area residents to fully understand the depths to which he thinks local government has fallen.
“People should know this isn’t normal,” Berg, Illinois Policy Institute content director, said in a statement of the ongoing Chicago City Hall scandal that has now grown to raise questions about longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago).
“Chicago is an outlier among big cities in the amount of power aldermen wield over small businesses in their ward," he added. "And Illinois is an outlier in the amount of power it gives the House Speaker over whether legislation lives or dies. Cases like these are inevitable when state and city government continue to allow for one-person rule.”
Federal investigators are reported to have recently captured Madigan (D-Chicago) on tape openly soliciting business for his private law firm from a private developer introduced to him by Ald. Danny Solis. According to the Sun-Times, the conversation centered on a hotel proposed for the Chinatown neighborhood.
The controversy has reignited the debate about sitting lawmakers double-dipping in the way they are allowed to solicit business for their private entities while serving as public officials. Solis is also at the center of the scandal that has ensnared longtime Chicago alderman Ed Burke, leading to his federal indictment on extortion charges.
Through his attorneys, Madigan has denied all and has not been publicly charged. In a statement to the Sun-Times, his attorney, Heather Wier Vaught, insisted, “If indeed, some of his conversations were being recorded, the speaker did not know that, but he has no concern if they were. The speaker has no recollection of ever suggesting that he would take official action for a private law firm client or potential client. To our knowledge, neither the speaker nor his law firm is under investigation.”