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Chicago mayor proposes reforms after alderman is charged

January 13, 2019
FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2019, file photo, Chicago Alderman Ed Burke, 75, walks into the Dirksen Federal Courthouse in Chicago. The fallout is continuing for the longtime Chicago City Council member who charged with trying to shake down a fast-food chain _ and for politicians with connections to him. (Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, File)/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is proposing far-reaching ethics reforms for the City Council in the wake of a federal attempted-extortion charge filed this month against a powerful alderman.

A Sunday statement from the mayor’s office doesn’t mention Ed Burke directly. But several suggested changes directly address City Council duties Burke allegedly manipulated to squeeze fast-food company executives.

Emanuel’s proposals include requiring that aldermen fully explain why they’d want construction-related permits denied. Conflict-of-interest rules also would be tightened.

The City Council would have to approve the changes, which haven’t yet been formally introduced.

Prosecutors say Burke told the executives who were seeking remodeling permits that they’d get them only if they became clients of his law firm. Burke denies any wrongdoing.

Emanuel has ordered an outside audit of a $100 million-per-year workers’ compensation fund that was controlled by Burke.

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