Spotlight Politics: State Sen. Tom Cullerton Fights Federal Indictment

An indicted state senator keeping a leadership post, and city officials react to deadly shootings. Our politics team of Paris Schutz and Amanda Vinicky takes on that and more this week in Spotlight Politics.

Illinois state Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, is fighting a federal indictment. He’s charged with embezzlement for allegedly getting a union salary, even though he wasn’t actually doing work as an organizer for Teamsters Joint Council 25.

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Even so, Cullerton will retain a leadership position in the state senate – and the stipend that comes along with it.

As a result of the indictment, Cullerton this week lost his position as chair of the chamber’s Labor Committee; Sen. Omar Aquino will hold that post now.

But Cullerton – a veteran himself – will become chair of the state senate’s Veterans Affairs Committee.

“After a discussion, it was a mutual decision that this was for the best,” said John Patterson, spokesman for Senate President John Cullerton, who is a distant cousin to Tom Cullerton.

Meanwhile, as the nation reels from last week’s mass shootings – including deadly shootings in Chicago – city and county leaders’ are grappling more than ever over what to do about it.

Already, there’s been a back-and-forth between Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Tim Evans and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

Now Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli is also getting involved.

Her office on Thursday sent a letter asking the Chicago Police Department to immediately take down the Gun Offender Dashboard, a database unveiled on Monday that tracks adults with felony gun offenses and their bond status.

A press release calls the database misleading.

“Let’s set the record straight – the term ‘gun offender’ also includes anyone who illegally possesses – and doesn’t shoot – a gun for his or her own protection,” it reads. “This is the unfortunate reality for too many residents who live in a city that continues to be plagued by gun violence.”

The CPD had no immediate response.

Follow us on Twitter: @wttw @paschutz @AmandaVinicky

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Feds Indict Illinois Sen. Tom Cullerton

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