News & Politics

Raid on Chicago Ald. Ed Burke's Offices More About 'The Chicago Way' than Donald Trump

(AP File Photo)

The FBI raid on the offices of powerful Chicago Alderman Ed Burke’s offices on Thursday brought the ever-simmering leftist hysteria about the Mueller investigation back to the surface.

Burke, an alderman for 50 years, was also Trump’s lead attorney on property tax matters for his Chicago buildings. This led to some pretty wild speculation that Mueller had something new on Trump that he was going to get from documents found in Burke’s possession.

But as an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times points out, this is nonsense.

When we look a little more closely, it’s abundantly clear the feds aren’t looking into Burke because of Trump. At least not for now.


• The investigation is being handled by the public corruption squad of the Chicago FBI office, not by investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

• Federal agents raided both Burke’s City Hall office and his ward office, indicating the investigation involves a city government deal. Had they been interested in Trump’s relationship with Burke, they would have hit up Burke’s law office, where attorneys who handled property taxes for Trump Tower Chicago most likely keep their records.

• Sun-Times reporting so far indicates there’s no presence of Trump in the Burke probe. “A source told the Sun-Times the raids were in response to new allegations, and not prompted by any past controversies that have swirled around Burke,” our main story reads. “That means, for now, the investigation isn’t focused on Burke’s property-tax-appeal work for President Donald Trump, or Burke’s oversight of a city workers’ compensation fund, among other matters.”

Nobody can say where this might lead.

But, for now, we’re thinking this is more a Chicago Way kind of thing.

“Wanna get Capone? Here’s how you get him. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun, he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way, and that’s how you get Capone.”

“The Untouchables” has achieved almost cult status, and has worn very well through the years. The hard-bitten beat cop Jim Malone played by Sean Connery was schooling Eliot Ness about how things really work in Chicago.

Columnist John Kass, who popularized the phrase, sees the connection to politics more than the mob. “Even so, the chief purveyor of the term is Tribune columnist John Kass, who has used the phrase in about 120 columns since 2000. Kass’ concept of the term is different from Mamet’s. To Kass, the Chicago way does not describe a policy of escalating violence; it reflects a constant erosion of society from a corrupt system of insiders giving political favors to each other.”

Chicago is a city where the lines are blurred between the legitimate businessman and the crook, the politician and the “Outfit,” and the exercise of power and corruption. Most players straddle that line, dipping a toe into both sides. Burke, no stranger to Justice Department investigations, may not make it through this one unscathed. But “The Chicago Way” will continue to be how business and politics is conducted in the Windy City.