Illinois state Sen. Thomas Cullerton (D-Villa Park)
DuPage County Regional Board of School Trustees President Cathy Hanzelin calls the indictment of Illinois state Sen. Thomas Cullerton (D-Villa Park) on Friday morning following numerous embezzlement charges another example of corruption that has plagued the state for too long.
“The corruption in this state is rampant, and everyone knows it,” Hanzelin told DuPage Policy Journal. “It is breathtaking, and completely pervasive. It is enraging, because the corruption affects people in big and small ways very far removed from the people at the top.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, Cullerton was accused of 39 counts of embezzlement for accepting roughly $275,000 of salary and benefits for "a do-nothing job" provided by Teamsters Local Union 734. The article states that Cullerton completed “little to no work” for the money he received for the job given to him by former longtime Teamsters boss John Coli Sr.
DuPage County Regional Board of School Trustees President Cathy Hanzelin
Cullerton is also facing additional counts of conspiring to embezzle from a labor union and employee benefit plans and making false statements related to health care. Despite the news, Hanzelin seems pleased that authorities are beginning to investigate and uncover some of these instances.
“If we had to rely on [Illinois Attorney General Kwame] Raoul to actually do a corruption investigation of Democrats in this state, we would be waiting a long time,” Hanzelin said. “I think the [federal authorities] are just getting started, and we may end up owing them a debit of gratitude. The important thing is to pay close attention to the candidates we vote for. Attend events where they are speaking. Pay attention to the filings they do stating where their donations are coming from. Ask questions, and then ask more questions. Support good candidates with your time, and even your money.”