Friday, November 30, 2018

Burke busted? Or just ammunition to be used by Election Day challengers?

Just what should we think of the fact that FBI agents showed up Thursday morning at the City Hall and neighborhood offices of 14th Ward Alderman Edward Burke, kicked everybody out without explanation, and began rummaging through the alderman’s files. 
Ald. Burke got himself involved earlier this year in an immigration-related dispute. Will he gain political points as a result? Photo by Gregory Tejeda
Federal investigators aren’t saying anything right away about what they’re looking for. In fact, the only visual image available early on was the sight of the windows and glass doors to the office being covered over with paper – so as to keep people from peeking in and watching just what the FBI is up to!

NOT THAT IT matters much at this point, or probably not at all, what the purpose of Thursday’s raids actually is.
Jesus Garcia thinks it offensive that Burke … 

For the people interested in deposing Burke from office will eagerly use the very presence of FBI at his offices and their suspicion as ample cause for voters to get all worked up and dump him from office come Feb. 26.

The fact is that Burke, who actually will hit the 50-year mark as a member of the City Council come March 12, is going to have serious challengers for his governmental post.

The other fact is that campaigns rarely delve into the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

THAT WOULD COME at a later date if federal investigators actually think they’ve found something that would warrant a criminal investigation. For campaign purposes in Election ’19, any rumor or trivial tidbit that can be made to sound offensive to the public will do.
… has worked as an attorney for Donald Trump

My point is that Thursday’s actions, in and of themselves, don’t constitute much. Particularly since federal investigators have probed Burke’s activity in the City Council in the past. Which Burke himself admitted to Thursday. "Once again, we will be cooperating fully and I am completely confident that at the end of the day, nothing will be found amiss in this instance either."

If Burke truly has any sense, he knows how to conduct himself in ways that prevent him from getting nailed with a criminal indictment.

It almost makes him a political equivalent of Tony Accardo, the long-time boss of organized crime in Chicago who back when he died nearly three decades ago had it said of him he was too smart to ever get busted, which is why he never spent a day of his life in jail.

BURKE’S REAL OFFENSE is the fact that his ward, consisting of neighborhoods on Chicago’s Southwest Side, has changed, just like many other neighborhoods, when it comes to ethnic composition.

In Burke’s case, the ultimate white Irish politico is now representing an area that is overwhelmingly Latino – Mexican-American, to be more specific.

Which is why it shouldn’t be a shock that the other four candidates who filed nominating petitions for the right to run against Burke come Feb. 26 are people of Latin ethnic backgrounds.

While Jesus Garcia, the newly-elected member of Congress from Chicago, is publicly saying that Burke is too tied into the political and business establishment of the city to actually represent the interests of his significant Latino population. Which may be why earlier this year, Burke was eager to publicly get involved in a political dispute over the use of the airport in Gary, Ind. (to which Chicago city government provides some funding) as part of the process of deporting people from the United States.
Burke envisions himself quite the Chicago historian

GARCIA INCLUDES AMONGST those acts the fact that back when Donald Trump was merely a businessman wanting to build that ugly towering structure of his along the Chicago River, he hired Burke to be his attorney and work the deal through the political process.

Burke may not be working for Trump any longer (and I’m sure Trump would be the first to denounce Democrat Burke these days). But it’s guilt by association. When combined with his past as being an outspoken critic of Mayor Harold Washington (which he has offered mea culpas for throughout the years), there are those who’d love to see Ed go down to defeat – just as they beat up on his brother, Dan, who served in the Illinois House of Representatives for many years.

Which means this campaign will get uglier for the man who likes to think he’s the historic voice of Chicago (he often likes to give lengthy speeches filled with historic tidbits). It will be far more than the upcoming ballot lottery to determine whether Burke or Jose Torrez gets the top spot come Feb. 26.

Because I have no doubt the political fantasies will arise about people being able to keep Burke himself from being able to run a credible campaign for re-election.


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