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Nobody says he's dumb, but everyone says he's an asshole.

"weasels all the way down"

Old Joe Medill, the father of Chicago politics, met an elderly lady who told him that Chicago rested on the back of a colossal weasel. "But, my dear lady," Joe asked, as politely as possible, "what holds up the weasel?" "Ah," she said, "that's easy. He is crouching on the back of another weasel." "Oh, I see," said the Mayor, "But would you be so good as to tell me what holds up the second weasel?" "It's no use," said the old lady, realizing she was being lead into a logical trap. "It's weasels-weasels-weasels, all the way down!"

patronage all the way up, corruption all the way down

Posted by teasel 02/19/2011 at 12:28PM

After Rahm Emanuel left his patronage gig ignoring corruption on Freddie Mac’s board, he came back to Chicago to run for congress. As Rahm was instrumental in getting Mayor Daley elected in the first place, the Mayor returned the favor by sending his chain gang of city workers to illegally campaign for Rahmbo in every one of his congressional campaigns.

Rahm says he didn’t know anything about it. I guess he could be lying, in which case he’s a liar and we can share a weak laugh at some sad joke about politicians. But if he’s not lying that makes me even more worried, because it tells us a lot about how successful he’s going to be at tackling corruption as Mayor when he couldn’t see that his own campaign was riddled with it for over half a decade:

Emanuel’s first bid for public office — his 2002 congressional run — and his re-election bids in 2004 and 2006 were boosted by city workers who were part of a political machine loyal to Mayor Richard Daley that was targeted by federal prosecutors for rigging city hiring and promotions to reward allies. Several top Daley administration officials were convicted in the probe, and the last of them — former Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Al Sanchez — was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison on Thursday.

According to court testimony, public records and interviews, members of pro-Daley street armies gathered petition signatures, knocked on doors and got out the vote for Emanuel.

Ever since he was first identified as a beneficiary of illegal patronage, Emanuel has maintained he was not aware of anything improper.

But the Tribune interviewed more than half a dozen current or former city workers who said they did volunteer work on the Emanuel campaign at the direction of their Democratic bosses.

James Sprandel, a retired Streets and Sanitation Department worker, said he circulated petitions for Emanuel at the urging of his now-convicted former boss, Daniel Katalinic, then a deputy commissioner in the department. Emanuel shared a beer with Sprandel and other campaign volunteers to thank them during his first campaign, the retired worker said.

“He knew we were working for him,” said Sprandel, who said he supports Emanuel for mayor. “I told him I was part of the Katalinic crew. He thanked me for the help. He knew we were helping him. Of course he knew.”

Emanuel declined to be interviewed for this story.

More than three dozen Emanuel campaign volunteers during his 2006 re-election bid also showed up on a secret “clout list” that surfaced in the 2006 trial of Robert Sorich, Daley’s patronage chief.

According to court testimony, Katalinic and Sorich met at Emanuel’s campaign headquarters in 2002.

Katalinic also testified that he took election-season orders from Greg Goldner, who managed Daley’s 2003 re-election bid as well as Emanuel’s first bid for Congress. Goldner — who was never charged in the hiring scandal — said he never had any knowledge of illegal patronage.

Street-level city workers said they understood what was happening.

“Daley made him a personal project,” Sprandel said of Emanuel. “Up until that time, I had never heard of Rahm Emanuel, but the Daley forces at City Hall said, ‘We are going to support him,’ so we did.

“That is just the way it was,” he said. “To get overtime or coveted assignments, you had to volunteer your time for politics.”

Jesus Navarro, a laborer in the city Water Department whose name appeared on the clout list, talks of the difference between then and now.

Back then, Navarro collected signatures for Emanuel at the request of then-Ald. William Banks, 36th.

“That was a long time ago, wasn’t he running for Senate or something?” Navarro said. “I don’t remember. I just did the politics to protect my job.

“I don’t know Rahm Emanuel. I just wanted to feel safe in my job, so I joined the 36th Ward organization,” Navarro added. “Then the inspector general came out with all the patronage stuff and there was nothing they could do for us anymore.”

That’s the kind of government background Chicago is used to, if not exactly the kind of good government it needs.

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