In a city where voter fraud is part of local lore, prosecutors are examining allegations by a Chicago alderman and others that campaign workers are paying people to vote for a Democrat involved in one of Illinois’ most contentious legislative elections. Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, said Monday that the office’s election unit is “looking into” a complaint against state Rep. Ken Dunkin of Chicago. The complaint was first lodged by Alderman Pat Dowell, a supporter of Dunkin’s opponent in the Democratic primary who on Sunday released videos that she says were made by “volunteers” who entered a Dunkin campaign office to secretly record the payments. A spokesman for Dunkin has called the accusations “baseless.”
One video, reportedly made inside a Dunkin campaign office, shows workers apparently making payments with $50 bills. A second one, on the sidewalk outside a building sporting Dunkin campaign signs, records a conversation with a woman who appears to be giving directions to a man about how he can make money if he votes a certain way. The Associated Press could not immediately verify the authenticity of the videos.
Dunkin, who represents a predominantly Democratic district, has drawn criticism from fellow Democrats for supporting Republican legislation. He has been the spoiler for Democrats on several key votes affecting union allies, either by being absent or voting against party-led attempts to weaken Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s position in negotiations with the state workers’ union.