| by Project Six

CHICAGO – Today, Project Six released a two-part investigation showing how Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office stepped in to allow Alderman Marty Quinn (13th Ward) to illegally spend money from his aldermanic expense account. The investigation also shows how Quinn and Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan have advertised equipment purchased with city tax dollars as available for use outside of the ward and even city limits and then used city-owned equipment for political advertisements.   

In 2015, Quinn purchased an industrial multipurpose vehicle (Polaris brand Brutus HD PTO Deluxe) and submitted the expense to the city for payment out of his aldermanic expense account. A Brutus vehicle violates the city’s code that prohibits aldermen from purchasing any kind of motor vehicle with their expense accounts. The Chicago Department of Finance initially rejected the expense request for violating the city’s Municipal Code, but—despite having no official role in the voucher process—the Mayor’s Office overrode the city’s rejection, approved the voucher and allowed it to be paid.

In 2013, Quinn’s office purchased a $52,513 graffiti blaster with his aldermanic expense account. Quinn and Madigan, who share a service office, then advertised it for constituent use in Madigan’s district, which goes outside of Quinn’s ward and even outside of the city limits of Chicago. Quinn and Madigan also put a political sign on the city-owned equipment, which is prohibited by law.

The investigation from Project Six, titled “How Alderman Marty Quinn is abusing his taxpayer-funded aldermanic expense account,” shows the questionable spending of Quinn’s expense account and the roles of the offices of Emanuel and Madigan in the abuses.

“What is troubling about this investigation is not just the illegal spending of tax dollars by the alderman, but the blatant disregard for the law by the Mayor’s Office and the cavalier regard for ethics rules by both Alderman Quinn and Speaker Madigan,” said Faisal Khan, CEO of Project Six. “When the law says an alderman cannot buy a vehicle with taxpayer dollars or put political signs on city property—regardless of their intent—they are required to follow the law. No one, including the mayor or his staff, has veto power over Chicago’s Municipal Code. Chicagoans frustratedly understand government waste and mismanagement, but illegal actions compounded with collaboration by high-ranking political officials is unacceptable. This case shows how far Chicago is from truthful and corruption-free governance.” 

The full investigation, with both parts including legal analysis of Chicago’s Municipal Code and evidence showing the expense forms and illegal use, is available here: http://bit.ly/2zCt2zt

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For bookings or interviews:

Nathaniel Hamilton, nhamilton@thesecretsix.com or (312) 618-6238

Project Six is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group dedicated to investigating and ending government corruption in Chicago and Illinois. Working with residents, Project Six hopes to make Illinois’ elected officials work for taxpayers and voters, not for the politically connected or corrupt. Anyone interested in learning more about Project Six or submitting a tip to Project Six investigators should call (888) 366-2569 or visit thesecretsix.com.