A Spotlight on Chicago Machine Boss Alderman Burke

With President Obama’s approval ratings headed downward, there’s a growing interest in the powerful Cook County politicians that pushed Obama. James Peterson has written a three part series on Chicago Machine boss, Alderman Ed Burke. The series was written for Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government website.

The first installment of the series deals with Alderman Burke’s association with the Chicago Mob. Burke’s unapologetic relationship with Alderman Fred Roti, who was described by the FBI (in 1999) as one of only 47 made members of the Chicago Mob. Peterson quotes this resolution Burke entered into Chicago’s City Council glorifying Roti:

Fred B. Roti, a committed public servant, a cherished friend of many and good neighbor to all, will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by his many family members, friends and associates.

Peterson’s second article deals with top FBI informer Robert Cooley’s accusation that Alderman Burke attempted to fix a murder trial for the Chicago Mob. Even though Cooley repeated this accusation, Burke failed to sue him or the publisher of the book. Peterson also deals with the sensitive subject of Alderman Burke’s relationship with Chicago’s media. Peterson quotes a 2003 Chicago Sun-Times story:

The curious public feud between City Council’s most powerful alderman and one of Chicago’s highest profile television reporters was turned up a notch Wednesday. Unable to persuade WLS-TV Channel 7 to pull reporter Andy Shaw off the City Hall beat because of the bed and breakfast Shaw and his wife run out of their Lincoln Park home, Finance Committee Chairman, Edward M. Burke (14th) did what he considers to be the next best thing. He introduced a legislative “order” directing six city departments—Fire, Revenue, Buildings, Streets and Sanitation, Zoning and Public Health—to enforce “any and all provisions” of the municipal code at only one address:607 West Deming. That happens to be the address of the Windy City Urban Inn, where the Shaws have continued to rent seven rooms at their three-story mansion…

Part three deals with Alderman Burke and the legitimate world. Peterson delves into the relationship Burke has had with the law firm Jenner and Block. Peterson quotes an a 1997 Chicago Sun-Times story:

Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), whose decisions on hiring lawyers in the City Council ward remap case have funneled $7.5 million in city fees to the prominent Jenner and Block law firm, holds co-counsel status with that firm in two recent lawsuits, court records show. Burke’s links with the firm do not appear to violate any laws or regulations…

Managing partner Jerold Solovy – who is the lead attorney in the remap case – was treasurer of the unopposed 1996 campaign for Illinois Appellate Court justice of Anne Burke, the alderman’s wife. And prominent [Jenner and Block] partner John Simon served as her campaign chairman. The firm provided $14,414.15 in services and money to the campaign.

The firm hired Burke’s daughter Jennifer A. Burke in June, 1995, shortly after she graduated 173rd in a class of 385 from Chicago Kent College of Law. In making new hires, the firm usually draws top students from the nation’s leading law schools. Two weeks ago, Burke, whose name has been linked to the federal investigation of ghost payrolling at City Hall, hired Jenner and Block partner and former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas to represent him in that inquiry.

Anyone interested in the place President Obama came from should read all three articles in detail. Alderman Burke is one key people who fast tracked Obama’s career. You’ll also want to read about the Chicago Democrats and the Chicago Mob. When Rod Blagojevich’s trial starts on June 3, the names of Tony Rezko, Jesse Jackson Jr., Valerie Jarret, Rahm Emanuel, and David Axelrod, and Barack Obama are guaranteed to be mentioned. They are part of the Chicago Democratic Machine, a Machine with Alderman Burke at the top.