This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, December 7, 2016:
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (shown) told reporters last week that there is a check waiting for him from Washington D.C.: “Literally, in Washington, there’s a check with Chicago’s name on it. Over 50 percent of the resources are going to come from Washington, and I don’t want to miss an opportunity.”
In the present case, Emanuel is referring to grant money his city is requesting to renovate mass-transit lines in the amount of $1.1 billion. In a larger sense Emanuel is referring to the river of political influence his city has poured into the Obama administration in exchange for such financial favors.
He’d better get that check soon because that river is about to dry up, and he might just miss that “opportunity.”
That river of corruption dates back decades, from the days of Al Capone and prohibition to the unlamented years of Mayor Richard Daley. Most recently Chicago citizens Penny Pritzker, Valerie Jarrett, Rahm Emanuel, Arne Duncan, Desiree Rogers, and David Axelrod — not to mention its most infamous citizen, Barack Obama — all moved into Washington D.C.’s highest offices when Obama won the White House in 2008.
Penny Pritzker became Obama’s commerce secretary, while Valerie Jarrett continues to advise Obama to this day. Emanuel served as Obama’s chief of staff for two years, while Arne Duncan became secretary of the Department of Education. Rogers served the Obama administration as its White House social secretary, and Axelrod was another of Obama’s senior advisors.
It helps to have friends such as those in high places, said Richard Durbin — a FOO (Friend of Obama) — and Illinois’ senior senator:
It changes the game. We didn’t have to explain to the Obama administration where they could find Chicago or Illinois. They knew.
And when we talked about issues back home, here, there was usually somebody in each Cabinet department who was from Illinois and could help us.
Durbin himself is no peach. With the help of the far-left Chicago chapter of Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (a splinter group of the Communist Party USA), Durbin has been inflicting himself on unsuspecting citizens as one of Illinois’ senators since 1997.
In 2013, Durbin was one of the “Gang of Eight” who tried to pass an immigration reform measure that, according to Politico, “would transform the nation’s political landscape” by “pumping as many as 11 million new Hispanic voters into the electorate a decade from now in ways that … would produce an electoral bonanza for Democrats [and would] cripple Republican prospects in many states [that] they now win easily.”
In 2014, the Chicago Tribune reported that Durbin’s wife, Loretta, benefited from her husband’s influence in Washington. As a lobbyist she was able to obtain earmarks granted to Senator Durbin for her favorite clients, which included a housing non-profit group, a state university, and a public health non-profit organization.
As noted, the river of influence from Chicago to Washington flows both ways: Politicians flow upstream, cash flows down.
In addition to the $1.1 billion check that Emanuel is hungering for, Illinois and Chicago together have applied for $110 million in U.S. Department of Transportation grants for grade-crossing improvements that the city and the state can’t afford on their own.
That’s because the financial problems facing the city and the state are almost unimaginably large. As this is being written, Chicago has $9 billion in unpaid bills and an estimated $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.
The city faces other problems as well: 700 of its citizens have been gunned down so far this year, certain to set a record of sorts for the “crime capital of the country,” as some now refer to the Windy City.
Come January 20, the river will be cut down to just a trickle, but there may still be a trickle. In 2010, when Emanuel was running for mayor of Chicago, fresh from Washington, Donald Trump donated $50,000 to his campaign. Following election day in November Trump called Emanuel, said Politico, to get his advice on how to handle his transition into the White House. And there’s Ari Emanuel, Rahm’s younger brother, owner of William Morris Endeavor, an entertainment and media agent, who has acted as Trump’s “entertainment” agent.
In any event Chicago is going to have to fend for itself for a change.