U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has asked Republican Cook County state's attorney candidate Tony Peraica to stop passing out a campaign flier that looks to Fitzgerald like Peraica is claiming his endorsement.
The flier shows side-by-side photos of Fitzgerald and Peraica and says, "U.S. Attorney's Office Needs Help Fighting Corruption in Cook County."
Fitzgerald said in his letter he had never even met Peraica. "The flier creates the misleading assumption that I have endorsed your candidacy. . . . That is by no means the case. I have never endorsed any candidate in any race for anything (much less someone I do not believe I have yet had occasion to meet.)"
Peraica's advertisement made the claim that if he (Tony Peraica) were elected, then Peraica would help Fitzgerald in rooting out corruption in Cook County. Alvarez cried foul because the advertisement was construed as an endorsement of Peraica by Fitzgerald, which Fitzgerald never did. While the advertisement was a bit misleading, the entire issue was rather trivial. Yet, this is the only thing that the media in the Cook County area focused on regarding the race.
At the same time, only weeks before the election Jon Burge was indicted by the same U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Burge is a former police commander in Chicago that committed systematic torture for almost twenty years before finally being removed in the early 1990's.
The Burge story should have been explored long before the campaign, but it should have especially been explored following the indictment. The Cook County State's Attorney's office didn't merely look the other way while this torture went on. In fact, they were often willing participants. It was in fact often Cook County State's Attorneys prosecutors that often took statements of suspects after being beaten for hours, electricuted, and other torture. The Cook County State's Attorney's office knew what happened and they participated for years actively in the torture.
Anita Alvarez is a twenty plus year veteran of the Cook County State's Attorney's office. Some of those years were spent in the office while Burge and his crew were committing systematic torture. Both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun Times endorsed Alvarez. Both cited her "experience" as a main reason for their endorsement. In fact, the Cook County State's Attorney's race was a mirror of the Presidential campaign, with Peraica, the Republican, as the agent of change, and Alvarez, the Democrat, the agent of experience. As much as the folks at both the Sun Times and Tribune ate up Obama's message of change, they just as quickly dismissed the exact same message from Peraica.
The Cook County government is in need of far more significant reform than the govenrment in D.C., and that is coming from someone who knows full well how broken D.C. is. The Burge story only starts here as well. First, Burge was again indicted by the U.S. Attorney not the Cook County State's Attorney. Second, he was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice not torture. That's because his acts of torture have now passed the statute of limitations. That's likely because the powers that be in places just like the Cook County State's Attorney's office protected Burge until the statute of limitations ran out.
All of this should have made the entire office toxic. Had the media given the Burge story and the overall corruption surrounding the proper coverage of a story of this magnitude, the entire Cook County State's Attorney's office would have become toxic. Had the media covered this story with the vigor that it finally deserves, Alvarez' 20 plus year connection to the office would have been as toxic as McCain's connection to Bush.
The State's Attorney's office almost never indicts a politician in the very crooked County of Cook. One of the reasons that the County is as corrupt as it is, is exactly because the Cook County State's Attorney's office does nearly nothing to be a watchdog. The other reason is because the major news organizations are just as ignorant.
Instead, the major media in the Chicagoland area focused on a silly advertisement. They made experience the important issue in the race, and as such, the apathetic voters voted in the ultimate insider to oversea one of the most corrupt political governments in the country.