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Politics

Political news, including Chicago City Hall, Cook County government, Chicago and county elections, the latest from Washington and Springfield and more.

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City watchdog issues damning report on how mayor’s office, CPD and other agencies handled botched raid on Anjanette Young’s home

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With end of Shakman in sight, court monitor burrows in on new Illinois political hiring probe

‘No evidence’ of politics in state hiring, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration says. But Noelle Brennan wants to know how the Illinois Capital Development Board hired two previously fired state employees and a son of an agency official.

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Judge made ‘sexist and offensive’ comments about me, says attorney after remarks were caught on livestream

‘Can you imagine waking up next to her every day? Oh, my God!’ Judge William Raines allegedly said of attorney Jennifer Bonjean in a conversation he did not know was recorded.

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The Fran Spielman Show

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Arne Duncan, founder of Chicago CRED | “Creating Real Economic Destiny"

Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman is joined by former United States Secretary of Education and former CPS CEO Arne Duncan to discuss violence in Chicago. Duncan, founder of Chicago CRED, which stands for “Creating Real Economic Destiny," brought on two local men to discuss their experience with violence. First is Billy Moore, who served 20 years in prison for fatally shooting Chicago preps basketball player Benji Wilson in 1984, and the second is Bilaal Evans Evans, who served 15 years for a crime he did not commit and most recently survived a shooting on Christmas 2021.

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Four Omicron myths: Dispelling misguided and ‘flat out harmful’ theories about the still dangerous variant — and that part is no myth

With coronavirus hospitalizations at an all-time high across Illinois, experts say it’s critical for residents to continue following basic precautions — and to stop dismissing the most infectious variant yet as "mild."

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Patrick Daley Thompson can show jurors his amended tax returns, judge rules

U.S. District Judge Franklin Valderrama made the ruling at a hearing Friday, where it appeared Thompson’s trial is on track to begin Feb. 4.

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Billionaire Gov. Pritzker throws $90M into his re-election bid, with Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin poised to join GOP primary

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin is expected to jump into the Republican primary contest on Monday, and may get the backing of billionaire Ken Griffin.

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Chicago stores exploit legal loophole to sell THC-O, a ‘psychedelic’ 3 times stronger than weed

Military scientists once investigated the compound as a potential nonlethal incapacitating agent. Now, a hemp-derived version is touted for its powerful, mind-bending effects.

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Cop who bungled homicide case involving Daley’s nephew promoted to lieutenant

Sam Cirone was reprimanded for his role in the investigation which initially cleared then-Mayor Richard M. Daley’s nephew in David Koschman’s 2004 death. A Sun-Times investigation changed that.

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Jonathan Jackson mulling run for Bobby Rush seat

Jackson told the Sun-Times if he ran, he would have the support of his father, Rev. Jesse Jackson.

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Ald. Burke was secretly videotaped inside his City Hall offices as part of federal corruption probe

New details of the investigation emerged Friday from an unsealed 160-page affidavit that had been filed to seek permission to raid Burke’s City Hall and ward offices.

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COVID-19 now killing 105 Illinoisans per day: ‘This is going to hurt for a long time’

Even though Omicron generally seems to cause milder infections and doctors have gotten better at treating COVID, the sheer volume of cases means there is more agony on the way, experts say. "We’ve been on this ride before. We know how this works," University of Chicago’s Dr. Emily Landon said.

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CPS students walk out of class, rally for better COVID-19 safety measures, remote learning option

"I want everyone to like not die because COVID is really bad right now," said a freshman at one North Side high school.

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After Supreme Court loss on COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Biden administration regroups

At a time when hospitals are being overrun and record numbers of people are getting infected with the omicron variant, the administration hopes states and companies will order their own vaccinate-or-test requirements.

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US Rep. John Katko, who voted to impeach Trump, won’t run again

The congressman from Camillus in central New York said in a statement sent to news organizations that he will not run for a fifth term "so that I can enjoy my family and life in a fuller and more present way."

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City official gets slap on wrist for botched implosion that left Little Village covered in dust

An investigation by the city’s watchdog recommended one official be fired and two others disciplined for 2020 debacle.

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Republican Steve Kim launches bid for Illinois attorney general, vowing to battle crime, corruption, Pritzker and Madigan

Launching his campaign on the first day candidates can start gathering signatures for nominating petitions, Steve Kim became the third Republican in as many days to announce a run for statewide office in the June primary.

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Retiring Rep. Bobby Rush endorses Karin Norington-Reaves in Democratic primary for his House seat

The Illinois Democrat, who will retire from Congress next year after 15 terms, gave a significant boost to the candidacy of Norington-Reaves in the historic Black congressional district.

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Chicago business groups welcome Supreme Court decision to halt Biden’s vaccine mandate although some will still require shots

But the court upheld the administration’s mandate for health care workers.

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Pilsen metal shredder could become next big environmental battle in Chicago

Sims Metal Management faces scrutiny as it applies for a new permit from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration and two additional approvals from Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

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After violent day in Chicago, city’s top cop emphasizes how many guns have been seized just 13 days into the year: 284

The news conference came the day after two 14-year-old boys were killed in separate shootings, a pregnant woman was fatally shot in Englewood, and a mass shooting in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood wounded four.

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Oath Keepers head charged with Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy

Despite hundreds of charges already brought in the year since pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol in an effort to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, these were the first seditious conspiracy charges levied in connection with the attack on Jan. 6, 2021.

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At the Table with Laura Washington & Lynn Sweet

Guests Jonathan Karl, chief Washington correspondent for ABC News and media and political consultant Delmarie Cobb., join our hosts At the Virtual Table on Jan. 20.

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AG Kwame Raoul announces student debt settlement with Navient

One of the nation’s largest student loan servicers will pay borrowers $95 million, cancel $1.7 billion in debt.

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Illinois comptroller race now Teresi vs. Mendoza — or Rauner & Griffin vs. Madigan?

It’s been nearly a year since Mike Madigan left the Illinois political stage, but the once powerful Southwest Side Democrat remains a major GOP campaign theme. Republican Shannon Teresi launched her bid for comptroller with more mentions of Madigan than Democratic rival Susana Mendoza.

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Illinois DOC to pause intake of inmates due to COVID-19 surge

County sheriffs say it increases strain on local jails.

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Chaotic day for some students returning after 5 days of canceled classes

In some buildings, particularly the city’s largest high schools, dozens of teachers were either out sick or quarantining because of an exposure, leaving classes packed into auditoriums.

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Help is on the way? Pritzker sends thousands of contract health care workers to hospitals swamped with unvaccinated patients

More Illinoisans are testing positive for COVID-19 each day than ever before — an average of 32,501 per day over the last week — and "unfortunately, right now, today, the hospitals are bearing the brunt," Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. The spike is also resulting in more deaths, with 144 on Wednesday alone, the worst daily toll in over a year.

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Bridgeport bank president had worker falsely make it look like Patrick Daley Thompson made loan payments: plea

That worker, Alicia Mandujano, has become the first person to plead guilty as a result of the massive investigation that has swirled for years since the failure of Washington Federal Bank for Savings and the death of its president, John Gembara, both in 2017.

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Jan. 6 panel requests interview from GOP leader Kevin McCarthy

Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democratic chairman of the panel, requested that McCarthy, R-Calif., provide information to the nine-member panel regarding the violence that took place last January and his communications with former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the days prior to the attack.

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Army ups bonuses for recruits to $50K, as COVID takes toll

Maj. Gen. Kevin Vereen, head of Army Recruiting Command, told AP that shuttered schools and the competitive job market over the past year have posed significant challenges for recruiters.

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Boris Johnson apologizes for attending party during lockdown

The apology, which stopped short of admitting wrongdoing, was Johnson’s attempt to assuage a tide of anger from the public and politicians over accusations he and his staff repeatedly flouted pandemic restrictions by socializing when it was banned.

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Mayor Lightfoot says she has COVID-19: ‘I am experiencing cold-like symptoms but otherwise feel fine’

"I will continue to work from home while following the CDC guidelines for isolation," the mayor said in a statement. "This is an urgent reminder for folks to get vaccinated and boosted as it’s the only way to beat this pandemic."

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Republican Demmer launches challenge to Democratic state Treasurer Frerichs — and Springfield

Calling himself a "proven fiscal watchdog," the Republican state legislator slammed his Democratic opponent as a member of the "tax-and-spend Springfield crowd" and part of the "Springfield machine." "Let’s speak plainly. Springfield is broken," Demmer says in his campaign video.

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Biden calls for lifting Senate filibuster to pass voting rights bills: Stuck without Manchin support

Without the backing of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Democrats have no chance to pass a voting rights bill.

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Chicago’s COVID-19 surge ‘flattening?’ City’s top doc sees signs of ‘potential relief’ — but warns Omicron wave is ‘extremely not over’

Nearly 4,800 Chicagoans are still testing positive each day on average — about double any previous case surge the city has seen — but that rate is down about 8% from last week, according to city data.