“Squeaky Clean” Ald. Joe Moore Investigated for Ethics Violation

In 2000, when he was running for clerk of the Circuit Court, Ald. Joe Moore ran an ad that was a parody of the then-super hot game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.”

 “Who’s so squeaky clean it makes you want to throw up?” a questioner asked.

The answer? Joe Moore.

Moore lost that race to Dorothy Brown. Despite flirtations with other offices -- state representative, director of the Illinois Department of Environmental Protection -- he remains on the City Council, where he is now tied for third in seniority. Moore was elected in 1991, beating a Daley-appointed incumbent -- the last alderman to do so. Chicago Tonight is reporting that Moore is under investigation by the Inspector General’s office for an ethics violation.

A report issued by Chicago's Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan concludes that "an alderman" abused his authority by firing a staff member for blowing the whistle on political campaign work being done in Moore's taxpayer-funded ward office, which violates city ethics codes.

The report concludes that Moore then "told (the staffer) she should not speak to anyone about the activities at the ward office," and provided her with a taxpayer-funded severance package worth $8,709. City code allows for terminated employees to cash out unused sick days, but does not provide for severance, according to Khan.

The report also concludes Moore fired his chief of staff and provided 81 days worth of severance pay. The report has been turned over to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and the U.S. Attorney's office, which has conducted interviews of the players involved in the case.

Ironically, Moore built his squeaky clean image by sponsoring an ordinance allowing the Inspector General to investigate aldermen for just these sort of violations. He also sponsored a Whistleblower Ordinance that allows the city to sue corrupt contractors.

Perhaps spending 22 years as an alderman will get a little dirt on even the cleanest politician.

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