Alderman Solis and Chicago's Corrupt Political Culture

Alderman Solis wore a wire for the FBI to help build a case against Alderman Ed Burke and buy himself favor as a cooperating witness. This is extraordinary even for Chicago politics, but not surprising.

I’ve been talking about Danny’s legal campaign contributions for years and years. Toni Preckwinkle’s support from and negotiations with SEIU were similarly called out in today’s Tribune. (Note: my home is an SEIU home.) It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the lines of legality become blurred for these guys.

Campaign contributions corrupt decision making. I made my campaign, this time and last, about reforming Chicago’s corrupt political culture for precisely this reason. That’s also why I’m self-funding my campaign. I’m the only candidate in the race doing this. That buys me the ability to say what I think is right for our city and neighborhoods, untainted by special interests.

From my 2015 campaign announcement:

The corruption of Chicago politics is an old joke, but it stopped being funny a long time ago. The institutional corruption in the city is a tax on all of us who live here. From red light cameras and privatized parking meters to underfunded schools and pensions, the average Chicagoan has to pay a tax every time an interested party makes a campaign contribution to your alderman or mayor. I’m making my campaign about corruption because nothing you care about is going to change until we deal with the corruption of the system.

From my About me page:

Based on the incentives that politicians currently face there is no issue that you care about, whether that’s schools or roads or parks or pensions, that is going to get fixed and stay fixed until we fix our political system. Fixing our political system requires changing the incentives for politicians. That means public financing of our elections and putting an end to the gerrymandering of our ward/district boundaries.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), ward elections are small enough that I think my self-funded campaign can disrupt the campaign business model in Chicago… and hopefully disrupt Chicago’s political culture.

From my campaign announcement in September:

If you’re tired of pay-to-play Chicago politics… If you want to fix, not just our city, but the politics in this city, then come walk around with me. Talk with our neighbors. Let’s fix this ward, let’s fix this city, and let’s save our democracy.