CHICAGO -- Federal prosecutors outlined stunning new allegations Wednesday, claiming bribery, favoritism and exotic trips in the office of Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County Dorothy Brown.
She's been under federal investigation for at least five of the 18 years she's been clerk, but that's never stopped Brown from winning. Now a court filing in a pending case against one of Brown's former aides contains details about alleged misconduct in the clerk's office. One employee allegedly told investigators the "going rate" to a buy a job there was $10,000. That bribe, they say, was to be paid to an employee that served as Brown's personal "bagman," handling money for the clerk.
The Chicago Tribune reports financial records appear to back up the claims. Transactions show the alleged bagman paid $40,000 directly to Brown and a company she controlled. The clerk later deposited $30,000 of those funds into her campaign war chest. Another employee said in an FBI interview that it was well known that giving gifts to Brown could earn workers a promotion.
Brown has long denied jobs are for sale in her office, including in a 2016 interview with WGN.
"We select people by the computer. It's a process that's the tightest thing you can ever have in place in an office and so we're not concerned about it because we know we do things in that office," Brown said.
Later that month, despite some in the democratic establishment turning their backs on her, Brown coasted to victory. The new federal court filing indicates prosecutors are still probing the inner workings of Brown's office and campaign.
It also alleged Brown's "bagman" also gave the clerk and her husband $40,000 in money the employee described as a "loan."
The feds also say it was common knowledge either a clerk's office employee or their relative paid for Brown to travel to India.