“People now know that if you’re part of a corrupt conduct, where one hand is taking care of the other and contracts are going to people, you don’t have to say the word ‘bribe’ out loud. And I think people need to understand we won’t be afraid to take strong circumstantial cases into court.” (Patrick Fitzgerald responding to critics)
CHICAGO, May 24, 2012— Champagne corks are popping all over Chicago. Illinois Democrats and Republicans are celebrating together. The political parties are partying. They are celebrating the resignation of a nemesis, a man who struck fear into the hearts of the most corrupt city and state in the nation.
Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, which includes Chicago, announced he is stepping down at the end of June. Mr. Fitzgerald has held his position for over ten years making him the longest serving U.S. Attorney in Illinois.
First term Senator Peter Fitzgerald(R) (no relation) nominated Patrick Fitzgerald for the position in 2001. The senator’s reasoning for the nomination was Patrick Fitzgerald was not from Chicago. Senator Fitzgerald wanted a corruption fighter with no ties to the local political establishment. This infuriated the powers that be in both the Republican and Democratic parties.
Peter Fitzgerald decided not to run for reelection because the Illinois GOP and powerful members of the Republican National committee had it in for him over this appointment, his voting record on certain issues, and his independent streak.
Chicago Democratic Machine candidate Barack Obama succeeded Peter Fitzgerald in the United States Senate.
The Illinois GOP was relieved.
From the time of his candidacy through his term in office there was no love lost between Peter Fitzgerald and the Illinois Republican Party. He exposed them for what they are, part and parcel of the Democratic Machine. He coined the term “combine” to describe their politically corrupt unity in defrauding the taxpayers of Illinois through political patronage, friends and family hiring and contract rigging, and the use of campaign contributions to obtain government contracts.
Peter Fitzgerald appointed Patrick Fitzgerald because he wanted someone who would clean up corruption and expose, prosecute, and send criminal politicians to prison. Patrick Fitzgerald attacked Democrats and Republicans alike. His office prosecuted and convicted Republican Governor George Ryan and Ryan’s successor, Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich.
He also investigated and indicted top aides to Mayor Richard M. Daley, contractors and state bureaucrats of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority, former City Clerk James Laski, and bribery in Chicago’s Zoning and Building Departments. Several inspectors have been convicted.
He investigated and prosecuted Scooter Libby, a top aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Fitzgerald also went after members of organized crime who had long ties to the Democratic Machine and operated with impunity in Chicago and Cook County.
Recently his office indicted a sitting member of the Illinois House, Derrick Smith, for taking an envelope full of cash in exchange for favorable treatment of a non-profit group.
When it came to prosecutiong criminal ploiticians and bureaucrats, Patrick Fitzgerald was totally apolitical. His only allegiance was to the law.
Fitzgerald was responsible for the prosecution and conviction of connected fundraiser to Democrats and Republicans alike, Tony Rezko. Rezko was a political wheeler-dealer, businessman, real estate developer, and government consessionaire.
Rezko was a friend, confidante, contributor, fundraiser, and real estate consultant to Barack Obama. He arranged the purchase of a vacant lot next to the future president’s home for an extremely low price. The lot greatly inflated the value of the home.
Rezko received a lenient sentence for cooperating during the Blagojevich and other investigations into political corruption. Rezko disappeared into the federal prison system. His secrets are safe. He never testified during the Blagojevich trial and will probably never testify anywhere.
Rezko’s ill gotten fortune disappeared too. It is rumored it is sitting somewhere in the Middle East. No one is looking for it.
With Fitzgerald stepping down, there is a good chance a political hack will be appointed to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago. That appointee will be an order taker. He or she will do what they are told and keep quiet about it. Sort of like Ertic Holder.
It is a sure bet the Chicago Democratic Crime family and their associates in the Illinois GOP will be ecstatic with the selection. They will tell Senator Dick Durbin(D) who they want. Durbin, who brags about his integrity, has none. He never did. He is a product of the Machine. He takes orders. He will follow those orders like he is supposed to.
In Chicago and Illinois corruption is king.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance journalist and photojournalist, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone. Mr. Bella is a member of the National Press Photographers Association and the Society for Professional Journalists.
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