"NO to super PACs" say progressive officials and candidates


Scott Waguespack in front of microphones. To the right: Bob Fioretti, Joe Laiacona and Steve Niketopoulos

Bob Fioretti, 2nd Ward Alderman and Mayoral candidate, and Scott Waguespack, 32nd Ward Alderman, were joined by a group of political candidates in pledging to reject any money from Chicago Forward, a political action committee (PAC). This super-PAC "will not directly donate to candidates but instead will independently spend money "to ensure that voters understand where candidates stand on issues facing our city," said its Chairman and CEO Becky Carroll, former Chief Communications Officer at Chicago Public Schools. 

Standing in front of a Woodlawn mental health clinic that will be closed on the Mayor’s watch, the group consisted of close to 30 candidates, most of whom are going after political seats where the incumbent is a supporter of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Among the local aldermanic candidates were Steve Niketopoulos, running in the 2nd Ward and Ronda Locke running in the 1st Ward. 

Niketopoulos reports on the event this way: 

While clinics like this one close, Chicago Forward is raising millions of dollars to support Emanuel and his city council allies. For those who don't know, super PACs exist so that large donations can come in with little to no accountability intended to affect local and national elections. Politicians who work with super PAC's in essence send a signal that they're willing to take money without knowing exactly where that money comes from. 

Our joint effort to bring awareness to this was in contrast to priorities of the mayor and his allies. They want to discuss how the city needs to cut spending, while taking money from special interest groups and secret donors. Big business cannot have more of a say than working families if Chicago is to truly move forward. Without full disclosure, how are we to know what conflicts may exist between city vendors and officials. 

Alderman Waguespeck suggested others seeking office should refuse Chicago Forward money. He said, "You can still be successful as an elected official without bowing down and taking those funds. You can actually return it and still do your jobs and do it well for all the citizens of this city." 

Both Waguespack and Alderman Fioretti are also calling for an SEC investigation into the super PAC's financing. Chicago Forward donors include investment bankers who deal with managing the city's pension funds. Waguespack says the details are hard to pull together, but it is agreed that this is the wrong way to use municipal funds, by “donating them to a candidate, putting it in a super PAC fund, and then using it against other people running in the city.” He goes on to say they are hoping “the mayor will have to return those funds…The people that are here with me today are going to step up and say they will not accept those funds.” 

Fioretti added that with Chicago Forward, “the first PAC money was meant to destroy eight alderman. The time now is for change, it's a time for transparency and accountability. People are held accountable for their actions”. He added it is “tough to run against big super PAC's, but we are going to be knocking on doors across this city, we are going to say no to the dark money of politics, we are going to keep approaching people with an agenda that moves this city forward.” 

Also present was progressive candidates Byron Sigcho (25th ward) and Ronda Locke (1st ward). Sigcho said "Chicago Forward is a PAC that has been set up to keep conducting the city in the same direction that we know is not working". Ronda Locke urged voters to “please take a look at your alderman’s voting record. Let's take a look at whose interest they are representing, the big donors or the people that put them in office.” 

Some of the other candidates who participated were Maureen Sullivan, Adam Corona, Alonso Zaragoza, C.M. Winters, Roger Washington, Mary Hunter, Byron Sigcho, Anna Goral, Joe Laiacona, Alberto "Al" Bocanegra, Annisa Wanat, Guadalupe Rivera, Michael LaFargue and David Moore.

Photo courtesy of Steve Niketopoulos and video Progress Illinois




These are all malcontent losers that would gladly take the money if it were offered to them.

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