CHICAGO (CBS) — A crackdown on corrupt city leaders.
That’s the push as Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot prepares to take office.
CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley explains who wants to add real teeth to government oversight.
Lightfoot spent another day meeting Springfield power brokers, like Senate Republican leader Bill Brady. And in a speech, Lightfoot told the Illinois State Senate, voters deserve government they can trust.
“Governments that are ethical, leaders who serve with integrity and act as responsible stewards of precious tax dollars,” Lightfoot said.
But in Chicago, a reform group complained that the city’s ethics enforcers are toothless tigers.
“Chicago’s IG system looks for all the world like a slice of Swiss cheese. It has lots of holes,” said Hoy McConnell of BPI.
For example, Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson can’t investigate the City Council, because three decades ago, aldermen rejected scrutiny.
“There was a vote in the City Council to strip out the power to investigate aldermen,” said former Inspector General David Hoffman. “And so, the power to investigate aldermen was taken away, and that was 30 years ago.”
No one can say if an inspector general would have caught the alleged shakedown Ald. Ed Burke (14th) allegedly pulled on a fast food chain. Or the alleged corruption that caused Ald. Danny Solis (25th) to wear a wire for the feds for two years.
But BPI, Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, want those gaps in the IG’s power closed. And they’re hoping Mayor-elect Lightfoot agrees.
“I know Lori. I know her character. I know her values. I have tremendous confidence in her,” Hoffman said.
During her mayoral campaign, Lightfoot called for greater power for the inspector general. But she hasn’t endorsed BPI’s specific proposals as yet.
In Springfield, Lightfoot said political leaders there appreciate her visit, because they haven’t seen recent Chicago mayors venture downstate.