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Attach a ‘crookcam’ to every alderman’s forehead

Ald. Danny Solis (left) at a Jan. 25, 2017, City Council meeting. | Brian Jackson - Sun-Times

Maybe we need to stick Crookcams on Chicago alderman, along with electronic dog collars that will zap them whenever they try to cut a shady deal.

Elected officials, of course, would never allow it.


Heck, they consider it unethical, immoral and downright criminal when one of their fellow politicians wears a wire authorized by the FBI.

“Where I come from, if you wore a wire, someone’s gonna kick your ass,” Ald. Matt O’Shea (19th) told Sun-Times reporter Fran Spielman when she asked him for a reaction to news that Ald. Danny Solis had been wearing such a wire.

Solis was apparently recording conversations with powerful Ald. Ed Burke (14th), who is now under federal indictment.

Police officers are accused all the time of forming a thin blue line to protect their own.

Well, police aren’t alone in taking a dim view of anyone inside their ranks who reports official misconduct.

More than one alderman has suggested that the only reason Solis would have worn a wire is if he had been caught doing something illegal by the FBI and cut a deal to reduce his own sentence.

The implication is there’s no way any Chicago alderman would wear a wire on corrupt colleagues just because it was the right thing to do.

That’s the way your elected leaders think. These are the people entrusted with your tax money. And in some cases, with the lives and safety of your children, mothers, sisters and elderly parents.

They think cheating is part of the job description. They find honesty not just offensive, but incomprehensible.

Ald. Rod Sawyer told Spielman, “If I was caught doing something wrong, I’d just keep my mouth shut and take the consequences.”

Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) said, “I’m a little stunned because he and I worked together. I considered him a good colleague and somebody that I’ve enjoyed working with. But it kind of makes you feel a little…uncomfortable about working with people.”

You just never know who might be cutting a deal with the feds.

It’s not just Chicago aldermen who are offended by people who cooperate with the federal government to put crooks behind bars.

Mob bosses don’t like them. And neither does President Trump.

Trump called his former attorney Michael Cohen a “rat” in a tweet after he agreed to cooperate with special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election of 2016.

The irony is that politicians and police often hold news conferences rebuking the rest of us for failing to come forward with information about illegal activity.

“We need your help,” they will say. “Come forward and tell us about terrorists and gang members because it’s the right thing to do, even if they may kill you and your family.”

And then the cops and the politicians snicker because they themselves aren’t ever going to do any such a thing.

They’re not rats. And they are not going to anger their buddies, the crooks.

Political corruption could not happen without the cooperation and silence of the people we elect to office.

The people who blow the whistle are often civilians, or low-level employees who complain about bad behavior and are demoted, transferred and threatened with job loss. Sometimes businessmen tired of paying bribes go to the federal government and complain.

But you can’t tell aldermen to be honest any more than you can stop a barking dog by shouting “quiet.”

I say make aldermen wear Crookcams on their foreheads so we can watch them 24-7. And just like dogs that require anti-bark collars, they will need regular electric shocks to remind them they’re supposed to be public servants and honest.

That may be humiliating. Better them than us.


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