The most dramatic examples of Mr. Obama’s commitment to old-style politics are his repeated endorsements of Chicago’s machine politicians, which came in opposition to what people of all ideological stripes viewed as the common good.
In the 2006 election, reformers from both parties attempted to end the corruption in Chicago’s Cook County government. They probably would have succeeded, too, had Mr. Obama taken their side. Liberals and conservatives came together and nearly ousted Cook County Board President John Stroger, the machine boss whom court papers credibly accuse of illegally using the county payroll to maintain his own standing army of political cronies, contributors and campaigners.
The since-deceased Stroger’s self-serving mismanagement of county government is still the subject of federal investigations and arbitration claims. Stroger was known for trying repeatedly to raise taxes to fund his political machine, even as basic government services were neglected in favor of high-paying county jobs for his political soldiers.
...The much-conflicted alderman says he meant to sit out the vote. Hed even sent a letter to the Chicago Board of Ethics in August 2003 saying he would abstain from any Council votes on Rezkos plan to put as many as 5,000 homes and stores on a 62-acre site along the Chicago River at Roosevelt Road.
But then Rezkos project came before the City Council on March 31, 2004, and Burke cast his vote in favor.
An error occurred, the alderman said in a written response to questions, and Rule 14 was not invoked.
That would be the Council rule under which aldermen are supposed to abstain from a vote when they have a conflict of interest.
Of course, its up to the alderman who has a conflict to invoke the rule.
Burkes legal work for Rezkos Rezmar Corp. is referenced in records on the 62-acre site Rezko wanted to develop with $140 million in city subsidies. The project fizzled, and Rezmar sold the land...