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Preckwinkle boots Cisek

Thursday, Feb 21, 2019

* From Toni Preckwinkle…

As of today, Scott Cisek is no longer affiliated with my campaign in any capacity. His recent social media post was unconscionable and showed insensitivity to the issue of anti-semitism. It does not reflect my values or the values of my campaign. I apologize to Lori Lightfoot and everyone who was offended by this insensitive comment.

That is huge. Cisek has been a top Preckwinkle aide.

* This thing blew up fast…



* And then came this…

Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot released the following statement in response to a Facebook comment in which Scott Cisek, a top adviser to mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle, posted a picture of Nazis at the Nuremberg Trials in an argument about whether to support Lightfoot.

“Politics is a tough business,” said Lightfoot. “I knew that before I jumped in. But it is disturbing to me that a mayoral candidate’s top adviser believes the genocide of millions of people is a casual enough subject to be used as a joke to settle a political argument. Take note of those that surround the people we expect to lead.”

* And this from Amara Enyia…

This foolishness from Toni Preckwinkle’s senior adviser is a testament to the values and character of her campaign. This is the latest in a long history of problematic behavior from several of Preckwinkle’s closest advisors. Does she condone this kind of behavior and attitude? Being progressive is not just about policies, it’s about the integrity and authenticity of your values. This is actually regressive and indicative of the kind of mayor she would be, and it’s exactly why voters are cynical about politics. Chicago deserves better.

* And then the apology

A top campaign adviser to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle apologized Thursday after invoking Nazis to criticize former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot in a Facebook post. […]

Cisek, who is a former executive director of the Cook County Democratic Party and has worked for Preckwinkle’s administration, is a longtime Preckwinkle adviser. […]

Cisek later deleted the post and also tweeted, “I apologize for my Facebook comment. It was a stupid comment and I took it down.”

“It was revenge for Billy Batts, and a lot of other things.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

49 Comments
  1. - GOP Truth Squad - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 12:21 am:

    Toni has her scapegoat if she doesn’t win.


  2. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 12:25 am:

    The Billy Batts reference is an early contender for comment of the year.

    More to the point, is Cisek still going to be the county’s point person in Springfield? Not sure how she justifies cutting him from the campaign because the comment was so offensive but finding that it wasn’t offensive enough to keep the taxpayers from continuing to pay his salary.


  3. - Keyrock - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 12:26 am:

    On the underlying facts: AUSA’s told me at the time that Lightfoot, as a new AUSA, did receive improper instructions from a superior. She should never have been put in that situation.

    On this week”s developments, good for Preckwinkle.
    Cisek was way, way out of line,


  4. - Godwins Law - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 1:01 am:

    I’m not a Toni fan in this mayoral race but I at least use to respect her for having a diverse group of people working for her. But as a white person I’m wondering about her choices with previous COS’s Cisek and Keller. Who is she going to hire if she becomes mayor?


  5. - Elgin Eddie - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 1:08 am:

    Cisek is a loyal person, a very hardworking person and a good person who let his passions get the best of him. He made a truly horrific post on a debate topic that I legitimately think he grasps very little of.

    It’s an altogether regrettable chain of events and I suspect nobody in this town feels lower than he does right now.

    Chicago has had an odd few days and crazy season is really going to ratchet up on Tuesday…


  6. - Godwins Law - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 1:18 am:

    ===Cisek is a loyal person, a very hardworking person and a good person who let his passions get the best of him. He made a truly horrific post on a debate topic that I legitimately think he grasps very little of.
    It’s an altogether regrettable chain of events and I suspect nobody in this town feels lower than he does right now. ===
    I have always liked Scott but he has been unbearable on social media for quite awhile. He basically has been like a sophomore in high school commenting on any gaffe by any other campaign. He would be bashing himself non stop if some other campaign did this.


  7. - Anon - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 1:21 am:

    Am I the only one who thinks this is a bit much? Firing the guy? It’s a logical argument, although taken to the extreme- “I was just following orders” wasn’t an acceptable excuse at Nuremberg, and it shouldn’t be here.

    It’s funny how certain comments get someone universally criticized, while others seem to be so easily forgiven. Snoop is being celebrated here as a state fair performer, but his past actions and statements on politicians, the police and women in particular are HORRENDOUS. Yea, he’s a performer not a staffer, but is that enough of a line?


  8. - Godwins Law - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 1:27 am:

    ===Am I the only one who thinks this is a bit much? Firing the guy? It’s a logical argument, although taken to the extreme===
    Look up what my nickname means and get back to us. Its not rocket science, especially in this game of bean bags.


  9. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 2:22 am:

    =Am I the only one who thinks this is a bit much? =

    Hitler’s still the worst, but laughing at him (as opposed to with him) has become acceptable.

    Mel Brooks started it:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPXHRX8Q2hs

    Now it’s a thing:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RCF98sDu6o

    I mean, look at this:
    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=hitler+reacts


  10. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 6:23 am:

    If I recall, Cisek was pretty critical of Preckwinkle handling of the Keller incident. Still, this is pretty ready, fire, aim on Preckwinkle’s part. It is possible to watch Goodfellas too many times. Just ask Pat Quinn.


  11. - You could say that, I couldn't - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 6:48 am:

    He’ll fire anyone as a matter of convenience, won’t she?

    The post was a dumb move and over thetop.I agree with Godwin’s Law’s observation that Scott has been over the top on social media lately, but he took the offending post down within hours. He deserved to be taken to the proverbial woodshed, but not fired — not after all the loyalty he’s shown and work he’s done for Toni. The fact is, his social media posts were getting closer and closer to crossing an acceptable line, and if Toni was genuinely concerned about posts like these, she would have told him to rein it in well before he posted the Nuremberg photo.

    The far more likely scenario is tgat Toni was fine with Scott’s aggressiveness on social media until he got called out for it. (Just like she was fine with rumors about John Keller’s activities until it was about to be public.) Then in a pattern that we’ve seen before, she fires him as soon as there is public criticism.

    It’s not a good trait in an executive, public or private.


  12. - Gooner - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 6:53 am:

    I’ve known Scott for a long time. I always like him. However, he has always been very defensive regarding Toni (and Berrios). On Facebook page, comments even midly critical of either were met with outrage.

    As such, this isn’t all that surprising. He did what he does, and took it up a notch.

    Beyond that though, Toni’s choices in personnel are a major problem. Keller (and keeping him on after he offered to resign), Scott, and Burke’s kid?

    Toni is an old school machine politician and that’s how she runs her office.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 7:00 am:

    ===“It was revenge for Billy Batts, and a lot of other things.”===

    That line says a great deal to Cisek, and the choices finally hitting an end.

    What I’ve never, ever, ever, understood about the marriage of social media and politics was, outside the bots and the forced “fake news” uses… why any campaign would want to engage at the social media depths… when it seemingly “always” crosses the line of bad taste and goes to the sickening far too quickly.

    It was though if you aren’t trying to be shocking with your social media, “you’re doing it wrong” and further, the sole reason to engage is to get to that viral line, even if it means that line includes at minimum bad taste or bad form.

    The downsides of social media, even if you have fake news propaganda, far outweigh the good, especially those doing the tweeting, posting, or meme making.

    The “lot of other things”… the best way to get to the end of what people will tolerate is be on social media one too many times.


  14. - You could say that, I couldn't - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 7:14 am:

    *He’ll = She’ll

    I feel better with that edit!


  15. - 47th Ward - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 7:23 am:

    Live by the FB comment section, die by the FB comment section. This should be a cautionary tale for any young political operative. It also says a lot about Preckwinkle’s loyalty. Step out of line and under the bus you go.


  16. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 7:56 am:

    I’ve been very critical of her, but Amara Enyia with a pretty good comment.


  17. - TopHatMonocle - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 7:58 am:

    If you told Cisek that victory for Preckwinkle would be assured if only he jumped off this bridge, he’d be over the railing before you even finished the sentence. I guess the sense of loyalty was not reciprocated. This is actually a big sign that they think there’s a strong chance they don’t make it into the runoff. Daley didn’t comment on this, and this would have gone away as of Wednesday at the latest. Lightfoot and Preckwinkle are canibalizing each other big time, starting to think that maybe we’ll end up with a Daley and Chico or Mendoza runoff.


  18. - low level - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 7:58 am:

    I was wondering why I couldn’t see his page anymore. Look, if you’re a Democrat, and believe in progressive values, Cisek is always there. Im not one to kick a guy when he’s down and definitely not about to now. He’s passionate and I certainly can relate to that.

    One ill concieved facebook post does not knock out years of hard work for Democratic candidates and causes.


  19. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 8:00 am:

    ===One ill concieved facebook post===

    “and a lot of other things.”


  20. - Former Downstater - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 8:03 am:

    ==More to the point, is Cisek still going to be the county’s point person in Springfield? Not sure how she justifies cutting him from the campaign because the comment was so offensive but finding that it wasn’t offensive enough to keep the taxpayers from continuing to pay his salary.==

    Cisek wasn’t listed as a lobbyist as of March last year. The County has contracted with All-Circo.


  21. - northernwatersports - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 8:08 am:

    On balance, Scott has much to offer in the positive for politics, but his assertiveness finally crossed a social line. For that act, he is paying with some of his own political capital. The sincerity of his apology, and appropriately redeeming himself of the social purge will take time. He’s gonna pay the piper and hope to move forward. I will watch with hope that he does.
    Tony however, lays bare what most ‘inside-baseball’ political junkies have known for the length of her political career… Loyalty above all else, swift political disconnect from the bad actors and no apparent personal remorse for the behavior she’s supposed to be in charge of.
    And she wants to run the City? Wow! This is a problem with an under informed electorate. Character matters. IMHO, her character faults are becoming more noticeable each day…
    47th Ward- “a cautionary tale…” for Scott and for the citizens of Chicago… Voters beware.


  22. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 8:13 am:

    Before any pearl-clutching for Cisek, keep in mind that he’s still not fired from his county job. He’s only on leave which means that he got fired from a campaign that’s over in anywhere from four days to two months. That and that he brought this on himself.


  23. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 8:26 am:

    The advice I’d give…

    If you’re walking a fine line in your role in politics…

    …don’t make the choice easy next time by making the last straw against you a tasteless and vile social media post, tweet, or picture.


  24. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 8:29 am:

    It’s beginning to look like Prekwinkle won’t make the run off.


  25. - Southern_Dawg - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 8:30 am:

    Never good to see this. I’ve known Scott a long time. Worked with him in the senate on some campaigns. He’s passionate about what he does, no doubt about it. Regardless, this is just another example of why it’s better to just take a deep breath before doing anything on social media.


  26. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 8:36 am:

    ===The far more likely scenario===

    You might be right.


  27. - Hammer - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 8:44 am:

    I’m kinda grateful for this campaign because it really has shown a variety of different leadership styles and while it doesn’t track 1:1 with running the city, it’s good to know who is in each candidates corner, or how they handle their finances/relationships with employers/vendors etc and what happens when their team gets out of pocket.

    It’s been a miserable slog at times but I feel like we know more about this lot (Daley excepted because he’s sorta flown above the fray) than last time the seat was open.


  28. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 8:45 am:

    “…keep in mind that he’s still not fired from his county job” Yep- exactly what Im talking about


  29. - OneMan - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 8:48 am:

    Still think you can make money by selling a service that would look at an image an warn you
    “Hey, you sure you want to do this?”


  30. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 8:58 am:

    Godwin’s Law is brutal. Be thoughtful on social media.


  31. - Jack - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 8:58 am:

    ==He would be bashing himself non stop if some other campaign did this.==

    Scott is a loyal and talented guy and my instinct is always to feel some empathy when people do something stupid, but this is so so true.


  32. - Soccermom - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 9:03 am:

    This: “If you told Cisek that victory for Preckwinkle would be assured if only he jumped off this bridge, he’d be over the railing before you even finished the sentence.”


  33. - Anonni - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 9:06 am:

    I had the displeasure of volunteering in a campaign that Scott was leading back in ‘08, and found him to be arrogant, dismissive, and rude. While this is unfortunately the norm among a lot of white dude campaign hacks, and often the candidate just looks the other way, I still say good riddance. In my view, he was a rock hung around Toni’s neck.


  34. - Just Observing - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 9:06 am:

    Scott’s post was ignorant, hyperbolic, and trivializes the Holocaust. That said, and I don’t know Scott personally, I don’t think it warrants his firing. Should he, as he did, remove the post and apologize… absolutely. But not completely thrown under the bus. And I speak as a Jewish-American.


  35. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 9:08 am:

    Combine this with the Martwick FUBAR at the presser, and it seems the Preckwinkle peeps have hit the panic button regarding Lightfoot.

    You don’t often see a supposed front-runner’s campaign pull two absolutely screwball moves the week before election. There was no rational upside to either one of them, they were the actions of scared partisans.

    I wouldn’t count on knowing who the two runoff candidates will be on election night. Those mail ballots tricking in might tell the tale.


  36. - Civilized society - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 9:26 am:

    My neighbor died recently of a heart attack. 500 pounds and smoked a carton a day. No one was surprised. Feel the same with Scott. He would agrue with anyone about anything on social media and was willing to be nasty to be right. He also had to have the last word. I am just surprised that he lasted this long.


  37. - low level - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 9:27 am:

    ==While this is unfortunately the norm among a lot of white dude campaign hacks,==.
    How did i know this was going to be mentioned eventually?

    Female operatives have never been arrogant or condescending, right? LOLOLLOL


  38. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 9:40 am:

    This is like the old Johnny Carson skit:

    The clue: John Keller, An abandoned SUV, Burke $$ and Scott Cisek

    “What are things I’ll address once I’m caught and forced to?”


  39. - O Brother where art thou - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 9:46 am:

    Fired from campaign but why from his county job? She’s been known to fire for less, her zero tolerence policy just may extent to the job….Got to stay tuned


  40. - NorthsideNoMore - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 9:50 am:

    Her poor choices and lack of key staff managment are mounting. For someone that wants to be the face of the 2nd City this is not a good look. (note to potential hires get “thrown under bus” insurance)


  41. - Graybeard - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 10:05 am:

    As OW alluded to, I will never understand the mindset of a TOP ADVISOR to a candidate arguing with folks on his own FB page, and certainly not to the level of Nazi comparisons. I am acquainted with Scott, so I watched this happen in real-time (though his account is now deactivated). I would agree that the exchange was in keeping with his mainly obnoxious posts over the course of this campaign. Even before yesterday, I was keeping an eye on his page the way some people watch NASCAR. It seems that the conflagration that i was anticipating finally materialized in a big way.

    Social media can be used as an effective political tool by people who know how to use it. In the hands of those who lack that knowledge, and the self-awareness required to exercise restraint, it can also be used to embarrass oneself and one’s candidate.


  42. - Regular democrat - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 10:19 am:

    Cisek has always been a sore winner. I dont think a lot of tears will be shed for him. Staying with the goodfellas theme i guess he is going to have to go home and get his shine box


  43. - Quicknote - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 10:47 am:

    Just out of curiosity, does anyone think this will have an effect on the outcome of the race? Seems like an issue of interest for insiders only. Does an errant Facebook post by campaign staff move the needle?


  44. - Responsa - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 11:06 am:

    It’s called gilding the lily, Scott, and it’s almost always a very bad idea. Had you posted the words “just following orders?” in your response to the Lightfoot blurb most would have taken your your point as snark. But that picture, man. Just wow. I’m glad this week some are finding out that the end doesn’t justify the means.


  45. - WSJ Paywall - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 11:20 am:

    Incredible at the level of social media malpractice. He deserved to be dumped, loyalty be darned.

    It’s beyond comprehension at how bad some people are at social media and how desperate they are to be funny and cute online.


  46. - Shytown - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 11:26 am:

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Eventually your lies catch up with you.


  47. - Shytown - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 11:30 am:

    == I’m not a Toni fan in this mayoral race but I at least use to respect her for having a diverse group of people working for her. ==

    You mean all those white guy consultants of hers?


  48. - SaulGoodman - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 12:01 pm:

    **Cisek is a loyal person, a very hardworking person and a good person who let his passions get the best of him. He made a truly horrific post on a debate topic that I legitimately think he grasps very little of.**

    Cisek has a long history of saying a lot of stupid things on social media. This was just the most publicly offensive one.

    **If I recall, Cisek was pretty critical of Preckwinkle handling of the Keller incident. **

    Uhh… where was he pretty critical? And he played a key role in the handling of the Keller incident.

    **Cisek wasn’t listed as a lobbyist as of March last year. The County has contracted with All-Circo.**

    Cook County (and any government entity) doesn’t have to register their in-house lobbyists. Scott has been the head lobbyist for Toni for a few years unless he was on leave to be on the campaign.


  49. - Gooner - Friday, Feb 22, 19 @ 12:48 pm:

    One more note on the analogy.

    Even forgetting the idea that the comparison is extreme, it is also wrong.

    At Nuremberg, the “I was following orders” defense applied where the defendants knew or should have know that their actions were morally repugnant.

    Here, she was not “following orders” in that sense. She had a question, asked two senior people, and followed their advice.

    What is missing is the idea that she should have known it was morally wrong.

    She might have been wrong but was wrong in a completely different way than Scott suggested.


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