Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago)
Chicago Republican Party Chairman Chris Cleveland is shedding no tears over the upcoming departure of longtime Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago).
“I live in his district and he is my state senator and I say good riddance,” Cleveland told the Prairie State Wire. “He does all the property tax deals, just like [House Speaker Mike] Madigan (D-Chicago), and is Exhibit A for all the runaway corruption. How can you do property tax deals and vote on tax policy in Illinois?”
After almost three decades in Springfield representing the 6th District and serving as Senate President since 2009, the 71-year-old Cullerton recently announced he plans to retire in January. Cullerton, who also serves on the Democratic State Central Committee for the 5th Congressional District, simply told colleagues, “Now is the time.”
Chicago Republican Party Chairman Chris Cleveland
Cleveland, meanwhile, bemoans the fact that it’s taken as long as it has to get to this point.
“He is an advocate for bigger government and for the disastrous economic policies that are driving people out of the state,” Cleveland said. “I’m glad he’s going.”
Cullerton’s departure comes at a turbulent time in Springfield, marked by a flood of federal corruption probes that find several Democratic lawmakers at their center. Over the last month alone, veteran state Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) has been forced to step down in the 3rd District after being nabbed on federal bribery charges, and longtime state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) was relinquished his post as Senate Transportation Committee chairman after being implicated in a kickback scheme.
And not long before that, Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), John Cullerton’s cousin, incurred federal corruption charges tied to a ghost payrolling scheme on a union organizing job.
“He is personally involved in corrupt activity,” Cleveland said of John Cullerton, pointing to a controversial North Shore land deal – in which he was a partner – that sought to have a developer build a road on publicly owned land leading to private property the two parties owned together.
According to WTTW, Cullerton personally lobbied every member of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to vote to grant an easement for the property.
“He thinks that by resigning in the middle of his term it makes it more difficult for us to clean things up because he will be giving his successor the power of incumbency,” Cleveland said.