No More “Happy Birthday” for Dorothy Brown

Clerk says she'll stop accepting cash from employees

It'll be no more "Happy Birthday" in the Cook County Clerk's office.

Dorothy Brown's campaign literature says she puts "professionalism over politics," but the veteran Cook County Circuit Court clerk has long accepted annual cash gifts from her employees -- a relic of Illinois' political patronage system that raises questions about coercion.

Brown says employees are not pressured to give, the Chicago Tribune reports. She says the practice is not banned by law or local ethics rules. But after the Tribune asked who she takes gifts from and how she reports it on her taxes, Brown said this week that she would stop.

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