FBI agents executed a search warrant Wednesday morning on the Far South Side ward office of Ald. Carrie Austin (34th).
The search marks the latest step in an ongoing, widespread federal investigation of Chicago aldermen.
So far, Ald. Edward M. Burke has been indicted on political corruption charges, and former Ald. Danny Solis has cooperated with the investigation by wearing a wire for the feds and secretly recording conversations. Burke has denied any wrongdoing, and Austin has not been charged with any crimes.
Ironically, Austin spent part of her morning with Mayor Lori Lightfoot at an event at Julian High School where a summer mentoring program was announced.
Lightfoot moved Ald. Austin out of her Budget Committee chairperson’s slot and replaced her with Ald. Pat Dowell.
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*** UPDATE *** Greg Hinz…
According to a knowledgeable source close to the matter, the feds are not looking at alleged official misuse of the office as they were with Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, who has been accused of racketeering and extortion of builders and others. Rather, the current probe relates to use of campaign money, of which Austin had plenty as (until recently) chairwoman of the powerful City Council Budget Committee.
The feds specifically are examining business deals, in both the city and suburbs, involving Austin and members of her staff, my source says. The investigation has been going on “many months,” is said to be “very solid” and may yet head in some directions that have not yet become public.