Illinois Politics: A Week in Review

This week: arson, voter fraud, heroin smuggling ring bust, vote buying, and Senator Durbin attacks the U.S. military.

Monday June 13th- A major heroin scandal plagues Chicago City Hall and Mayor Daley:

State, federal and local officials announced Wednesday that they had arrested the alleged leader of the Chicago cell of a Colombia-based heroin trafficking ring!

This just weeks after… The city water commissioner and nine of his workers, including an in-law of Mayor Richard Daley’s brother, were ousted in a payroll scandal in the department at the center of a federal probe.

Daley said he’s not embarrassed by the charges because “I didn’t sell it.”

Tuesday, June 14th- Chicago City Hall Clean-up Mess

Mayor Daley shrugged off Monday’s Sun-Times story that revealed that at least 500 times last year city crews cleaned up privately owned lots at taxpayer expense and falsely marked the lots as being city-owned (some of them were clout-heavy favorites of the Mayor).

Wednesday, June 15th- The East St. Louis Democratic Voter Fraud Trial continues…

Jurors heard more taped conversations by Rudy McIntosh against the five democratic committee men and women on trial for voter fraud charges:

He testified former city official Kelvin Ellis told him how to buy absentee votes for $5 a piece. Defense attorneys repeated objected to testimony. Several times Judge Patrick Murphy sent the jury out of the room to hear their arguments.

One undercover tape played for the jury had McIntosh talking to party leader Charles Powell. McIntosh said “Five dollars a vote ain’t gonna get it.” Powell responded, “I know what you’re saying. Give them five dollars…ten dollars a vote.”

Also, Wednesday, Former Waterloo, IL Democratic Aldermen was charged with Arson…

It’s been two years since a fire leveled a former Waterloo, Illinois Alderman’s business. Now prosecutors say Michael Augustine, 40, intentionally started the blaze at the Cahokia pizza restaurant. Augustine now faces nine federal charges.

He was appointed a seat on the Waterloo city council in 2003. That same year his business was destroyed by a fire. Investigators say he could end up in prison if convicted of arson and fraud.

Oh, Yes… And, on Wednesday the esteemed Senator Durbin of Illinois stood on the Senate floor and equated our military working at Guantanamo Detention Center with the Nazis, Communist Russian soldiers woking in Stalin’s gulags, and the evildoers of Pol Pot’s regime…

“If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime – Pol Pot or others – that had no concern for human beings.”

Thursday, June 16- The East St. Louis Democratic Voter Fraud Trial continues…

The court hears how Democratic Committeemen and women are trained on how to buy votes:

Democratic Precinct Committeeman Lilly Butler testified that during a political meeting in December 2002, Powell introduced city Democratic committeeman Frank Smith, who then gave a talk about how to buy votes without getting caught.

Uproar over Senator Durbin’s remarks and public calls for Senator Durbin to apologize.

And,… Aljazeera picks up on where the Senator left off.

Friday, June 17- Democratic Voter Fraud Trial continues in East St. Louis…

Sandra Stith, a Democrat worker during the Nov. 2 election who already has pleaded guilty to buying votes, testified that…

Sandra denied believing that her payments of money to voters was illegal at the time, or that Powell — the chairman of the city’s Democratic Central Committee — had told her to buy votes in the Nov. 2 election.

By giving money to voters in her precinct, Cook said, “You were showing appreciation for taking the time to vote.”

“That’s correct,” said Stith, a Democratic precinct worker who agreed to cooperate with the government after pleading guilty to vote fraud.

Saturday, June 18- Senator Majority Leader Frist and calls for Senator Durbin to apologize.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich calls for censure of Senator Durbin.

Also, Friday’s testimony in the East St. Louis Democratic Voter Fraud trial is reported in the press…

Prosecution witness, Kessy Stewart, said she voted in November and was later handed an envelope containing $7.

Sunday, June 19- Senator Durbin Digs in his Heels

Bloggers react (from the past several days)…
Powerline, Michelle Malkin, Little Green Footballs, Instapundit,
The Anchoress, Polipundit, Cox and Forkum, Jackson’s Junction, Red State, Roger L. Simon, La Shawn Barber (Club Gitmo!), Ace of Spades, Black Five

And, just when it looked like things could not get any worse…
Mayor Richard Daley is pushing an ordinance that would make it easier to close taverns in Chicago on Monday!

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