Dorothy Brown bankrolls campaign with George Ryan-style employee contributions
For Immediate Release: October 17, 2011
For more info: Andrew Sharp, 773/447-1763
Challenger Munoz blasts court clerk for tapping county workers and vendors
Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown has once again tapped into her office employees and county vendors for campaign money, ignoring ethical standards set by leading Illinois Democrats in the wake of the George Ryan scandal, records filed today with the Illinois State Board of Elections show.
Rick Munoz, the Chicago alderman who is challenging Brown for the Democratic nomination for clerk in the March 2012 primary, described the report as “another embarrassing example of how Dorothy Brown fattens up her political war chest at the expense of employees and vendors eager to please her.”
“In the past, a number of her former employees have said that they felt pressure to donate the money – something George Ryan’s employees testified to at his racketeering and fraud trial,” Munoz said. (Source: “Dorothy Brown says she won't take cash from county employees. Cook County Circuit Court clerk sees nothing wrong with the gifts but stops it when Tribune asks about it,” June 05, 2009, Hal Dardick, Chicago Tribune.)
Munoz continued, “If we are going to end the kind of old school politics as usual plaguing county government, we must learn the lesson of the Ryan trial and stop taking campaign money from our office employees.”
At least two leading Illinois Democrats, Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Secretary of State Jesse White, have pledged that they will not accept campaign contributions from their office employees.
Munoz has made the same promise, saying that the practice “is simply wrong.”
The largest contribution listed in Dorothy Brown’s campaign fund’s quarterly report filed with the Board of Elections, $10,000, came from the Central Credit Control Corp. of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Its sister company, which has the same chief executive officer and same address, Penn Credit Corp., received a contract earlier this year to collect fees and fines owed to Cook County, many payable to Brown’s office.
The reports showed the names of a number of Brown’s office employees among the donors. Examples: Deputy Clerk Eduna Wilks $520, Frederick Dunson, chief of juvenile justice division, $170; Perpetua Gautierk, $650; Hetal Patel, legal systems analyst, $495; Jennifer M. Smith, deputy clerk, $650; Barbara Wigell, $470.