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Complaint filed against Justice Anne Burke over Preckwinkle fundraiser

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, wife of Ald. Ed Burke, leaves their house in January. File Photo. | Justin Jackson/Sun-Times

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, wife of Ald. Ed Burke, leaves their house in January. File Photo. | Justin Jackson/Sun-Times

Just days before Election Day, a political consultant filed a complaint Friday against Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke for her alleged role in a fundraiser for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Jeffrey Orr, the son of former Cook County Clerk David Orr, filed the complaint with the state’s Judicial Inquiry Board, arguing that public statements by Preckwinkle and one of her advisers “have implicated Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke in potential violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct.” Burke is the wife of embattled 14th Ward Ald. Ed Burke, who is facing attempted extortion charges for allegedly trying to pressure a Burger King franchise owner to give Burke’s private law firm business.

A senior adviser to Preckwinkle previously told the Sun-Times the fundraiser held at the Burkes’ Southwest Side home in January of 2018 was “the result of a friendship between Preckwinkle and Burke’s wife, Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke.”

Jeffrey Orr is a digital consultant who has previously worked on Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s 2015 run for mayor and on the campaign of Abdelnasser Rashid, who ran to unseat Commissioner Sean M. Morrison from the county’s board of commissioners in November.

He said he filed the complaint because “we need to get to the bottom of this.”

“The public deserves to know the truth about what happened at the fundraiser,” Orr said. “We have a judge who could have violated judicial conduct and a mayoral candidate, who’s looking like a frontrunner, and the public should know who raises money and why.”

Jeffrey Orr says his father didn’t know about his plans to file the complaint.

He cites reports by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune to make his case for the judge’s involvement in the fundraiser.

Preckwinkle’s connections to the 14th Ward alderman were brought under scrutiny after Ed Burke was accused in criminal charges last month.

Scott Cisek, then executive director of the Cook County Democratic Party, passes out resumes of judicial candidates to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle; then-Party Chairman and Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios and Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) at the Plumbers Union Hall in 2011. File Photo. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

Scott Cisek, then executive director of the Cook County Democratic Party, passes out resumes of judicial candidates to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle; then-Party Chairman and Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios and Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th) at the Plumbers Union Hall in 2011. File Photo. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

Preckwinkle returned all of the $116,000 she raised at Burke’s home in January 2018 and stripped the longtime alderman and committeeman of his power to help get judges elected to the bench.

But Preckwinkle’s mayoral campaign sought to distance itself from Ed Burke, by moving closer to Anne Burke.

In January, senior Preckwinkle campaign adviser John Hennelly argued the fundraiser resulted from a friendship between Preckwinkle and Anne Burke and their “shared passion” for criminal justice reform.

“Toni did not have a relationship with Ed Burke. They were on opposite side of the issues in the City Council then went their separate ways,” Hennelly said at the time.

Monica Trevino, Preckwinkle’s spokeswoman, said Jeffrey Orr supports former head of the Chicago Police Board Lori Lightfoot. Orr also received $126,911 from 2006 to December 2018 for consulting and campaign work from David Orr’s political fund, records show.

“This is pure politics from a supporter of one of Toni’s political opponents the weekend before the election. The details of the event have been known for several months. But now, a couple of days before the election, this supporter of millionaire corporate attorney Lori Lightfoot files a claim. Why?”

Jeffrey Orr denied that he has endorsed Lightfoot, although some of his tweets would suggest that he supports her.