Political Journalists React to Powerful Alderman’s Legal Trouble

Chicago news media swarmed 14th Ward Ald. Ed Burke and his attorney Charles Sklarsky as they entered and departed the Dirksen Federal courthouse Thursday.

In a federal complaint filed Thursday, prosecutors accused Burke, the longest-serving alderman in Chicago history, with attempted extortion for using his position as alderman, one that includes approving building permits, “in order to corruptly solicit unlawful personal financial advantage in the form of fees” paid to his law firm Klafter & Burke.

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Burke is one of the most powerful figures in Chicago politics as well as a top-tier tax attorney. A joint report by WBEZ and the Better Government Association uncovered how the alderman ostensibly used City Council recusals to create an aura of impartiality.

Burke’s appearance in court Thursday comes just over a month after the FBI raided his City Council and ward offices.

Joining us to unpack Thursday’s bombshell, recap Burke’s City Council legacy and look ahead: Mick Dumke of ProPublica Illinois; Carol Marin of “Chicago Tonight”;and David Kidwell, the Better Government Association’s special projects editor.

Follow Evan Garcia on Twitter: @EvanRGarcia

Related stories:

Ald. Ed Burke Charged with Attempted Extortion

Ald. Ed Burke Holds High-Dollar Fundraiser Amid Federal Probe

Embattled Ald. Ed Burke Facing Re-Election Challenge

What FBI Raid Could Mean for Chicago’s Most Powerful Alderman

FBI Raids Offices of 14th Ward Ald. Ed Burke

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