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January 4, 2019

CHICAGOLAND: Alderman Edward Burke charged with attempted extortion of Burger King owners.

The criminal charge was jaw-dropping even for a city with a long history of public corruption. While dozens of his City Council colleagues have been convicted and sent to prison over the decades, Burke was largely seen as too clever or sophisticated to be caught. He had faced federal scrutiny several times before but always escaped charges.

For decades, the Southwest Side alderman has used his iron grip on the City Council’s Finance Committee and key role in slating Cook County judges to build a massive amount of political capital.

Burke, who turned 75 last week, often decides whether Chicago’s most important legislation will move forward. He controls millions of dollars in campaign funds. He is the sole steward of the city’s $100 million workers’ compensation program. And he plays a crucial role in redrawing the city’s ward maps — a key in maintaining political power amid shifting demographics.

He’s also married to Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, who was quietly sworn in to a second 10-year term on Nov. 29, the same day her husband’s City Hall and 14th Ward offices were raided. The FBI carried out a second search of Burke’s City Hall office on Dec.13.

But here’s the kicker:

Bhachu also revealed that the FBI found 23 guns when agents raided Burke’s offices in November. As a condition of bond, he must surrender the firearms and any others he may own within 48 hours of his release. He’s also allowed to travel only within the Northern District of Illinois and to his lake house in Power Lake, Wis., while the case is pending.

Emily Zanotti noted on Twitter, “Burke was a key partner with Rahm Emanuel in expanding gun control in Chicago through the mayor’s “Safe Guns Policy.”

The hypocrisy would be astounding were it not completely and rightly expected.