Edward M. Burke, 74, has been alderman of Chicago’s 14th Ward for nearly 50 years, a now-majority Hispanic ward once represented by his father, Joseph P. Burke.
Burke has weathered numerous threats to depose him as chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee by mayors with whom he subsequently reached political accommodation.
He has survived federal investigations that threatened to undercut his power base, once even by blaming a dead man for ghost-payrolling irregularities on his committee payroll.
A Democrat, he’s shrugged off criticism regarding his law firm’s business relationship with one of Republican President Donald Trump’s companies. Burke’s firm, Klafter & Burke, repeatedly has sought to reduce the property taxes that Trump Tower and other commercial properties have to pay.
Former Ald. Dick Simpson (44th), who served with Burke in the City Council for eight years, ending in 1979, once called him J. Edgar Hoover of City Hall: “He does know where the bodies are buried from being an insider for so long.”
Who is Ed Burke?
Political Office: Alderman, 14th Ward; chairman, Chicago City Council Finance Committee
Education: Undergraduate and law degrees from DePaul University
Occupation: Attorney, Klafter & Burke; member, Chicago City Council; Chicago Police Officer, 1965-68
Books: Co-author of “End of Watch,” about Chicago police officers killed in the line of duty, and “Inside the Wigwam,” about Chicago political conventions
14th Ward Office: 773-471-1414
Personal: Burke is married to Anne Burke, an Illinois Supreme Court justice
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