Independent Candidate for Cook County Assessor Forrest Claypool on Wednesday injected a new term to local politics: "Clout on a Map."
The interactive map on his website plots points around the county of buildings that have received more than a $1 million tax break and the campaign donations from the building's tax attorneys -- some of them six figures -- to the campaign of Claypool's opponent in the race, Joe Berrios.
Berrios, a Democrat, has spent 20 years as a member of the Board of Review that decides tax appeals.
"It's the judge taking cash from the litigant in front of him and then deciding their cases," said Claypool. "It’s as blatant a conflict of interest as you can have and it shouldn't even be legal."
Claypool said that nearly 92 percent of the $62 billion in tax reductions that were granted last year by the board of reviews were given to law firms donating to Berrios’ campaign.
"This is how Joe Berrios earned the moniker pay to play personified," said Claypool.
In response, Berrios’ campaign issued a statement saying in part, "…if I really wanted to rake in the money, I would have granted appeals to the wealthy, but I didn’t."
Republican Candidate Sharon Strobeck-Eckersall and Green Party candidate Robert Grota are also on the ballot.