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Departing Chicago FBI chief warns politicians, supports term limits

Wednesday, Sep 4, 2019

* Sallet went on a media tour before departing for DC. Tribune

When Jeffrey Sallet took over as boss of the Chicago FBI in late 2017, one of the biggest political corruption investigations in the city’s history was quietly simmering.

A year later, it boiled over with the FBI’s public raid on the City Hall offices of powerful Ald. Edward Burke, touching off a seemingly never-ending series of bombshell developments, from a sweeping indictment against Burke to the revelation that his longtime colleague, Ald. Daniel Solis, had been secretly wearing a wire.

As Sallet prepares to depart later this month for an executive position at FBI headquarters in Washington, he says there is still a lot more still to be revealed about the ongoing corruption probe. And while he won’t be here to see it, Sallet said he’s proud to have helped send a message to politicians “that it is not business as usual.”

“Our corruption program is extremely busy,” Sallet said in an interview Tuesday from the FBI offices on the West Side. “While there have been plenty of overt actions that have occurred, the city of Chicago should expect more to come.”

* Sun-Times

Now, on his way out, Sallet said he still loses sleep about violent crime and other mass acts of violence. What doesn’t keep him up at night, he said, is another topic that has roared back into the headlines during his tenure — public corruption.

“I don’t lose sleep about the corruption,” Sallet said in an exit interview with the Chicago Sun-Times. “The people that are corrupt public officials, I assure you, are losing sleep about us. And I think that’s more evident now.” […]

He also said the FBI aims to send the message that “the people of the City of Chicago should demand and expect honest government.”

“Anybody who is getting shaken down by a politician should come in and tell us because it’s unacceptable, and I promise you, we’re going to do something about it,” Sallet said.

* WGN TV

“I think people in the City of Chicago are sick of being victimized by politicians,” he said. “Sick of paying to play. Sick of politicians not working for them and them having to work for the politicians.”

During his short time in Chicago, the city has watched Ald. Ed Burke get indicted, Ald. Carrie Austin become ensnared in a federal investigation, former Ald. Danny Solis cooperate with law enforcement and people close to Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan could find themselves in trouble with the law.

Sallet said one way to stop all of it is term limits — the longer politicians are in office, the more powerful they become.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

38 Comments »
  1. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:30 pm:

    We already have term limits. They are called elections.


  2. - Anon E Moose - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:30 pm:

    I thought FBI officials don’t give political opinions?


  3. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:33 pm:

    ===Sallet said one way to stop all of it is term limits===

    Corrupt folks are gonna corrupt.

    The goal is to have good folks in, and be held accountable every time they are on the ballot.


  4. - very old soil - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:35 pm:

    Same is true for FBI officials e.g. J Edgar Hoover


  5. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:37 pm:

    ===Sallet said one way to stop all of it is term limits===

    Also…

    If folks know someone is “corrupt” and re-elect them, what are you stopping, exactly?

    Ald. Burke, under investigation, etc… won without a runoff.

    How many folks could win with Burke’s baggage in 2019?


  6. - OneMan - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:38 pm:

    That does beg a question, is it easier to be corrupt once you are in for a while?

    Not due to the accumluation of power (not that, that isn’t part of it) but a better understanding how stuff works.


  7. - G-Man - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:40 pm:

    ==the longer politicians are in office, the more powerful they become==

    And also much less susceptible to being beat by a wealthy candidate or a challenger with a wealthy benefactor.

    Without significant campaign finance reform, term limits are both undemocratic and dangerous to our nation’s democracy.


  8. - A Jack - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:44 pm:

    It seems like the FBI culture is all about mixing politics with investigations these days.


  9. - Publius - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:46 pm:

    So let’s look at how well government has been delivering for our citizenry since we passed all these ethics laws. It appears to have almost brought us to complete stand still. No one wants to make a decision because with each decision someone may benefit and that someone may have given you a campaign check and other may see this as unethical. Well they could have simply given a check to the candidate that supports they same issues. It’s a fine line


  10. - Steve - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:48 pm:

    Mr. Sallet is correct about term limits. Alderman Burke used his decades long positions to amass political power for his own benefit.


  11. - Publius - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:48 pm:

    Is this presser a precursor to his activities in trump’s FBI


  12. - A Jack - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:48 pm:

    Perhaps FBI executives need term limits as well. After serving a decade in an executive position, send them back out into the field to investigate UFO’s.


  13. - Steve - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:50 pm:

    OW

    You made the best argument for term limits based on what happened with Burke being reelected.


  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:52 pm:

    ===You made the best argument for term limits based on what happened with Burke being reelected.===

    No…

    “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”


  15. - Steve - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 12:53 pm:

    - A Jack -

    I believe FBI agents have forced retirement at 55.


  16. - Responsa - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:00 pm:

    Term limits are one of the things I have changed my mind about over ensuing years of watching politics and politicians. I used to firmly believe and say that elections were the best way to enforce limits on politicians. I now understand that extended length of service in any office begets power and personal infrastructure/bureaucracy that serves the “master”, but may not serve to the benefit of the citizenry, and can thwart anyone trying to unseat an incumbent. I agree with Sallet’s comments on this.


  17. - Pick a Name - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:00 pm:

    Demo quickly out of the chute with his infamous, “We have term limits, they are called elections.”

    Sadly, that is not the case in Illinois.


  18. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:02 pm:

    =Sadly, that is not the case in Illinois.=

    Funny, I remember voting and I have lived in Illinois since I reached voting age.

    Demo is right.


  19. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:06 pm:

    Rauner caused more per-capita damage to Illinois than any one politician, in his supposed pursuit of term limits. Much damage can be caused by purposely obstructing, which is legal.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:17 pm:

    ===Sadly, that is not the case in Illinois.===

    We just had elections.

    In 2019. Muni races.


  21. - Steve - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:23 pm:

    - Grandson of Man -

    You also make an excellent case for term limits. Would you want Bruce Rauner as Governor as long as Ed Burke has been in office?


  22. - City Zen - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:24 pm:

    ==Without significant campaign finance reform, term limits are both undemocratic and dangerous to our nation’s democracy==

    From municipal to county to state rep to state senator to US Rep to US Senator and all points in between, there are more than enough opportunities to represent a constituency over the course of a political career. So I wouldn’t quite classify term limits as dangerous to democracy.


  23. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:24 pm:

    ===You also make an excellent case for term limits. Would you want Bruce Rauner as Governor as long as Ed Burke has been in office?===

    Rauner faces the voters.

    Rauner lost.

    Please keep up.


  24. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:27 pm:

    ===So I wouldn’t quite classify term limits as dangerous to democracy.===

    They’re not. POTUS is term limited.

    To say they don’t hamper democracy and in turn ruin democracy by limiting choices, that is also true.

    We have term limits. Elections.

    Having a line of service, that’s not great for democracy.

    “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”


  25. - A guy - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:27 pm:

    In a place where indicted people can still occasionally get elected, I’m not sure it would make any difference.


  26. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:35 pm:

    ==So I wouldn’t quite classify term limits as dangerous to democracy.==

    Maybe not dangerous but certainly anti-democratic.


  27. - Dave W - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:37 pm:

    =I thought FBI officials don’t give political opinions?=

    There was nothing partisan about what he said. Just speaking the truth.


  28. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:43 pm:

    I get the term limits argument. But here’s generally what happens in states with term limits.

    People get elected. They generally don’t know about the complex nature of lawmaking. About the time they get a grasp, they are term limited out.
    They now use this new expertise to become lobbyists and steer policy and laws to their desired goals with the newbie lawmakers who don’t know any better.

    Rinse and repeat.
    Not sure that system is better. It’s certainly not accountable.


  29. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:48 pm:

    ==Sadly, that is not the case in Illinois.==

    We don’t have elections? Perhaps you never received your notification from the clerk’s office in your county on where to vote. I’m sure if you call them they’ll let you know.


  30. - Veil of Ignorance - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:54 pm:

    Term limits create a different type of corruption: self-dealing and quid pro quos to set up a politician’s next gig. Wrong solution for the problem while sacrificing institutional knowledge.


  31. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 1:57 pm:

    ==People get elected. They generally don’t know about the complex nature of lawmaking. About the time they get a grasp, they are term limited out.
    They now use this new expertise to become lobbyists and steer policy and laws to their desired goals with the newbie lawmakers who don’t know any better.==

    Spot on. Everything has a downside, even term limits. More power to lobbyists (and staffers).


  32. - Stevie Dan - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 2:02 pm:

    All this from a guy proudly leaving Chicago to go to DC to work for Donald Trump.


  33. - Thomas Paine - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 2:28 pm:

    Derrick Smith, Nick Sauer were…freshmen.

    LaShawn Ford andAaron Schock were…cleared.

    There have been more charges of corruption against…police officers.

    Quotes like these from an FBI bureaucrat might help him move quickly up the political ladder in DC, But they are detached from reality.


  34. - JB13 - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 2:33 pm:

    Perhaps a corrupt politician could summon the chutzpah needed to mount a defense that says: “I was corrupt, your Honor. But everyone knew it, and yet voters kept voting for me. So, to continue with this prosecution, your Honor, would be asking the court to substitute the will of the FBI for that of the voters.”

    Whaddaya say, Mr. Burke? Care to try it?


  35. - {Sigh} - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 3:08 pm:

    For those favoring term limits. Two words: Eastern Bloc… having term limits will cause the Eastern Bloc Caucus to expand! So, if you don’t like an elected official beat them at the ballot box with a qualified candidate.


  36. - Amalia - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 3:24 pm:

    sir, you seem like you are moving on up to the corrupt side. Trump is a disaster. I’ll take multiple elections of a great person any day.


  37. - John-on-the-spot - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 5:18 pm:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/democratic-lawyer-greg-craig-is-acquitted-11567624206


  38. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 4, 19 @ 6:15 pm:

    Amalia, hopefully he is going there to correct the Comey’s and McCabe’s of the FBI.


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