Ed Burke, Chicago’s longest-serving alderman and one if its most powerful, was charged with extortion in federal court on Thursday. The chairman of the city’s finance committee, who’s been in office for fifty years after succeeding his father, knows a thing or two about money.
According to federal investigators, the former city cop used his power to tie up the business licensing process for a southwest Chicago Burger King restaurant to force the owners to steer their legal business to his firm.
From the Sun Times:
After the company struggled to have its permits approved, it agreed to steer business to Burke’s firm, according to the complaint. When (city employee Meaghan) Synowiecki asked whether he wanted business from all of its Illinois locations or just those in Cook County, Burke allegedly replied, “Umm, all Illinois locations.”
That was Dec. 19, 2017. An application for a driveway permit from the company was approved the same day, according to the complaint.
But in an almost Leland Yee-like twist, when the feds raided the allegedly corrupt alderman’s offices, they found the long-time gun control proponent was armed to the teeth.
…[F]ederal prosecutors revealed Thursday that nearly two dozen firearms were discovered in Ald. Ed Burke’s offices during their raids in November.
It’s still not known if the guns that were found in November were discovered at Burke’s ward office or at City Hall, but it’s hard to miss the irony of a staunch gun control advocate having to turn over 23 guns as a condition of his bond.
That’s right. Alderman Burke, the embodiment of the city’s corrupt political machine, a man who had campaigned for decades on gun control and Second Amendment restrictions, was found to have 23 firearms in his office.
From outlawing cell phone cases shaped like guns to bans on concealed weapons in places that serve alcohol and broadening the gun offender registry in Chicago, Ald. Ed Burke’s aldermanic record has defined him as an ardent supporter of gun control.
That’s why many people did a double take when federal prosecutors announced that investigators had found nearly two dozen guns not in his home but in his offices.
There’s no word how many he may have had in his home. If anti-gun politicians didn’t have double standards, they wouldn’t have any at all.
This is yet another fine example of the authoritarian ruling class living the “laws are for thee, but not for me” life. Alderman Burke also appears to have violated one of Chicago’s many gun-free zones by keeping guns in his city hall offices.
(430 ILCS 66/65)
Sec. 65. Prohibited areas.
(a) A licensee under this Act shall not knowingly carry a firearm on or into:
(5) Any building or portion of a building under the control of a unit of local government.
But Burke may have benefitted from a special exemption.
Signs posted outside (city hall) prohibit anyone – even a concealed carry permit holder – from bringing a gun into the government building, but as an alderman, Burke may have enjoyed special privileges.
An 1872 law designating aldermen as “peace officers” allows Burke to carry a weapon.
State records show the former cop has also been a licensed private detective and a licensed private security contractor since the 80s, with a valid Firearms Control Card.
Facing the extortion charge, Burke now finds himself in very good company. Four of Illinois’ last seven governors have gotten voc-ed experience making license plates in the big house. And nearly three dozen aldermen have been convicted and sentenced to prison over the last 40+ years. In fact, “a common joke in Chicago is that so many aldermen had gone to prison that when they saw each other behind bars they’d holler, ‘Quorum call!’”
Same as it ever was.