Illinois state Sen. Thomas Cullerton (D-Villa Park)
Illinois state Rep. Chris Miller (R-Oakland) is preparing for the worst amid reports that veteran state Sen. Thomas Cullerton (D-Villa Park) has been indicted on as many as 40 federal corruption charges for allegedly pocketing as much as $275,000 from union bosses for a job where he had no responsibilities or job description.
“I’m guessing this is just the tip of the iceberg,” Miller told the East Central Reporter. “I’m guessing if they wanted to investigate the waste, fraud, abuse and criminality that’s been going on in Springfield the last 40 years, that hole can get pretty deep and pretty wide. Four of seven governors have ended up in federal prison, and the current governor defrauded the tax system when he took the toilets out of the mansion. Most of us, if we had done that, would have seen a little jail time.”
Cullerton’s indictment came just 72 hours after former longtime Teamsters boss John Coli Sr. pleaded guilty to federal charges of corruption and agreed to corporate with authorities. As part of his plea agreement, Coli also reportedly told investigators that he and Cullerton conspired as recently as four years ago to land the lawmaker the high-salaried post now at the center of the probe.
Illinois state Rep. Chris Miller (R-Oakland)
“They always talk about the swamp in D.C., well Illinois has a sordid history of corruption,” Miller said. “Just think about how happy Al Capone would be under the current administration because he was trying to legalize drugs and gambling and all these things for years.”
Through his attorneys, the 49-yer-old Cullerton, a distant cousin of Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), has denied all the allegations. He is the seventh Illinois legislator to be hit with criminal charges over the last seven years.
“I think the message I got, and I’m in the House of Representatives, is these guys cannot be trusted,” Miller said. “They can’t be trusted to tell you the truth; they can’t be trusted to spend money wisely, and they can’t be trusted to govern without being influenced by big money. The government has become the enemy of the people.”