Investigating Chicago's City Council

November 16, 2011

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

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Inspector General Joseph Ferguson does not have the authority to investigate members of City Council.

Chicago’s City Council was scheduled to meet Wednesday to vote on the 2012 city budget, the first proposed budget by new Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Council members were also likely to make history: they were expected to sign off on the first-ever legislative Inspector General for the council. The city already had Inspector General Joseph Ferguson to investigate misconduct but Ferguson did not have the power to investigate aldermen and their staff. If approved, former New York City Inspector General Faisal Khan would take the part-time post.

However, many questioned how much authority he would actually have. To find out more Eight Forty-Eight spoke with Juliet Sorensen, a former assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago who worked with the city’s Inspector General's Office as the lead prosecutor on Operation Crooked Code, an investigation of Chicago’s building and zoning departments.

Eight Forty-Eight also invited Ald. Dick Mell, chairman of the City Council Rules Committee to join the conversation. He led the push to hire Faisal Khan, but Mell’s office did not respond to the invitation.

Music Button: Shawn Lee, "Swimming Pool", from the album Sing A Song, (Ubiquity)