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Lipinski turns to patronage army to get on the Feb. 5 ballot

For immediate release
Friday, November 30, 2007
Media contact: Patrick Corcoran (847) 687-7579

Wracked by scandal and subjected to public scrutiny throughout a series of criminal investigations, indictments and convictions, some Chicagoans thought the city's patronage system was dead and gone.

But a Nov. 28 television news report shows the old school patronage army is still limping along in Illinois' 3rd Congressional District and it's working for U.S. Congresssman Dan Lipinski.

According to Fox News Chicago investigative reporter Dane Placko, 37 percent of those who circulated nominating petitions on behalf of Lipinski are Chicago or Cook County employees. The names of more than 40 of the people also appear on the "Clout List."

Click here to watch the clip that appeared on Fox News Chicago:

Democrat Mark Pera, who is challenging Lipinski in the Feb. 5 Democratic Primary Election, said it's not surprising that Lipinski used the patronage system to get his name on the ballot because he's a product of the system.

"Congressman Lipinski was put in office by his father and his politically-connected friends. Now he's turning again to his father in an attempt to retain his seat," he said.

A couple items of note:

* Neither Lipinski, nor his father - former Congressman Bill Lipinski - circulated a single petition on behalf of the Lipinski campaign.

* Of the people who cirulated petitions on behalf of Lipinski, more than 40 are City of Chicago employees and more than 30 are Cook County employees.

* The names of 41 petition circulators appear on the so-called "Clout List," the Rosetta Stone of the Chicago patronage system. It includes the names of some 6,000 applicants for city jobs and their politically connected sponsors, or clout. The list, which some say was used to rig the city hiring process, was publicly released in 2006 during the criminal trial of Mayor Daley's former patronage chief, Robert Sorich.


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