Cook County Board President and Chicago mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle issued a statement strongly denouncing Alderman Ed Burke on Sunday night, calling on the embattled official to resign his office.
Preckwinkle, who is also the Chairman of the Cook County Democrats, emailed key party leaders on Sunday night to announce major changes related to a federal investigation into allegations that Burke attempted to extort local business leaders.
Preckwinkle announced in the email that she has removed Burke as the Chair of the Cook County Democratic Party Judicial Slating Committee, and she also announced she would return the $116,000 that was raised in a fundraiser at Burke’s house while she was running for re-election as Cook County Board President last year.
Preckwinkle also demanded that Burke resign his position as the Democratic committeeman of the 14th Ward, and that he step down immediately from the Chicago City Council.
“Cynics say that corruption and Chicago politics go together,” she said in the email. “I have never accepted that. I’ve dedicated my life to fighting for change and will continue to fight for all Chicagoans.”
Preckwinkle also criticized Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza and fellow mayoral candidate Gery Chico, as well as Bill Daley, for their connections to Burke.
“I won’t have my name dragged through the mud over the alleged criminal conduct of Susana Mendoza’s mentor, Gery Chico’s best friend, and Bill Daley’s long-time political ally,” she said.
Burke recently said that he still fully intended to run for re-election to the City Council despite his resignation from his post as Chair of the Finance Committee.