Organized Crime & the Political Machine
Throughout history there has been a constant struggle, but also a complex web of connection between government and organized crime. Bribery, extortion and embezzlement are among some of the crimes that connect the mafia with important political figures publicly, however the relationship between these two entities seems to go a lot deeper. In fact, according to recent investigation, some elected officials are, themselves, important crime leaders. A prime example of this is Illinois politician and former mayor of Chicago, Richard M. Daley.
Daley’s family has great historical significance within the city as his father, Richard J. Daley, was also mayor of Chicago. His brother William M. Daley served under former U.S. president Bill Clinton as U.S. Secretary of Commerce and their older brother John P. Daley is the finance chairman on the Cook County Board of Commissioners. Daley himself was in the Illinois State Senate for eight years. After that he won the election to become Cook County’s State’s attorney where he remained for nine years from 1980-1989, and won the election for mayor of Chicago in 1989 after Harold Washington’s death. The family is known as “the Daley Machine”, and while the negative social, financial, and economic impact of the machine is well documented, both father and son continued to be re-elected. A scandal in 2005 was Mayor Daley explaining approximately $48 million in overruns for the renovation of a terminal at O’Hare International Airport. Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (D) stated, “You can fool some people for 16 years, the question is if they want to be fooled for 20 years” (Chicago Tribune, 1996). A federal investigation in 2006 of “pervasive fraud” led to 30 indictments, including two senior administrators closely tied to the mayor, and a dozen cabinet-level resignations which led to an interrogation of Daley himself. If anyone achieves power in Chicago, they have been supported by...
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