State Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park)
A federal indictment against State Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) reveals how the "insatiable greed" of lawmakers is now extending beyond the public coffers into union funds, according to the head of leading family values organization the Illinois Family Institute.
In the immediate wake of the indictment, David Smith, executive director of Illinois Family Institute, delivered a sweeping denunciation of the wider state political scene.
"The state of Illinois, once again, has the disturbing distinction of being among the most politically corrupt in the nation," said Smith, whose organization's mission statement is to bring biblical perspectives to public policy.
David Smith, Illinois Family Institute
"This corruption is fueled in part by insatiable greed which is demonstrated by the way our state lawmakers continue to confiscate our private resources for the public coffers. Tom Cullerton’s greed has allegedly reached beyond that and into union funds," Smith told the Prairie State Wire.
Cullerton, 49, of Villa Park, was indicted by a grand jury on 39 charges that he fraudulently received close to $300,000 in cash and benefits from the Teamsters Union between 2013 and 2016. He was first elected to the Senate in 2012.
The indictment, unsealed Friday, claims he was brought in to the union fold by former Teamsters boss John Coli, who pleaded guilty earlier this week to extorting the head of a Chicago film studio. Cullerton, it is alleged, did not work for the money and benefits.
Coli is identified as "Individual A" but stated that he was then president of Teamsters Joint Council 25, which was a post the ex-union leader held, according to the Chicago Tribune.
This indictment fuels the belief that elected politicians are "all crooks," said the family institute's Smith, adding that "there are a handful of honest and wise statesmen trying to serve the citizens of their jurisdiction and promote the general welfare of the state."
But, Smith added, the indictment will "further public cynicism" already immersed in the "unethical activities of our lawmakers only further public cynicism."
Criticizing the now indicted senator's voting record, including the gasoline tax, fees for drivers, expanding abortion, making Illinois a sanctuary state, mandating LGBT history be taught in schools, expanding gambling, legalizing marijuana and establishing a polling place in Cook County Jail, Smith said Cullerton's "lies and smears on the campaign trail are eclipsed by his reckless pursuit of left-wing policies."