Democratic Cook County board president candidate Dorothy Brown is being dogged by a variety of controversies.
The semi-annual fundraising numbers for state and local candidates in Illinois are out today and we'll have more details on those figures later this morning. For Cook County board president candidate Dorothy Brown, however, a different type of cash is dogging her this week. On Wednesday, Fox Chicago's Dane Placko reported on a practice in her circuit court clerk office known as "jeans day." For several years now, employees there have been allowed to wear denim on certain Fridays in exchange for donations typically ranging between $2 and $10. The money is collected in manila envelopes and staffers have been told that it is subsequently sent to charitable organizations. But in response to repeated requests from Placko, Brown has failed to document such donations. Watch his report, which ends with Brown rattling off a shady response then holding up a bible:
On a related note, the Tribune's Eric Zorn highlighted Brown's "pathetic attempt" -- during the WTTW debate Tuesday -- to explain her practice of accepting cash gifts from employees. Furthermore, the Chicago Current's Alex Parker notes today that Brown's staff is helping to buoy her campaign fundraising also.
During the WTTW roundtable earlier this week, our ears also perked up when Brown claimed that she could generate substantial "non-tax revenue" by selling ads on the county's website. "I could get $1 million based upon the hits I get," she said, referring to the pageviews logged on the Circuit Court web site. Watch:
Not surprisingly, that revenue projection makes no sense. Here's one site that generated about $1 million in ad revenue last year. And here is the amount of traffic it received, according to Quantcast. Now compare those traffic figures to the Circuit Court Clerk or main county websites, which have about 1/20th the audience.
Finally, Forrest Claypool recently sat down with Parker this week to discuss his decision to resign from the county board, his refusal to make an endorsement in the race for board president, and whether he thinks the slate of reformers who've served on the board over the past decade (himself included) have accomplished much.
UPDATE (12:30 p.m.): During their midday broadcast, Fox Chicago aired responses to the "jeans day" controversy from fellow Democratic candidates Toni Preckwinkle, Terrence O'Brien, and Todd Stroger. Watch it: