Edward M. Burke

Edward M. Burke
Chicago Alderman Edward M. Burke at the Greater Chicago Food Depository in the near southwest-side Archer Heights neighborhood on November 24, 2009.
City of Chicago Alderman
Assumed office
March 14, 1969
Preceded byJoseph P. Burke
Constituency14th Ward
Personal details
Born (1943-12-29) December 29, 1943 (age 75)
Chicago, Illinois
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Anne M. Burke
ResidenceChicago, Illinois

Edward M. "Ed" Burke (born December 29, 1943) is an American politician who is currently the alderman of the 14th Ward of the City of Chicago. A member of the Democratic Party, he was first elected to the Chicago City Council in 1969, and represents part of the city's Southwest Side. Chair of Council's Committee on Finance, Burke has been called Chicago's "most powerful alderman" by the Chicago Sun-Times.[1] Burke was named one of the "100 Most Powerful Chicagoans" by Chicago Magazine, describing him as "[o]ne of the last of the old-school Chicago Machine pols."[2]

Burke is the longest-serving alderman in Chicago history.[3] He was a leader of the "Vrdolyak 29" during the first term of Mayor Harold Washington, the "Council Wars" era. Burke and his staff were the subjects of federal and local investigations, and members of his staff were the targets of indictments and convictions involving payroll and contracting irregularities.[4]

Burke was the lead partner with Klafter & Burke, a law firm that specializes in property tax appeals; the firm has served clients who do business with the city and also provided services to US President Donald Trump.[5] On November 29, 2018, Burke's office at Chicago City Hall and his Aldermanic ward office were seized by federal agents, who ejected staff and papered over the doors and windows.[5] On January 3, 2019, Burke was charged with attempted extortion for allegedly using his political office to drive business for his law firm.[6] As of August 2019, Burke is no longer a partner with the law firm.[7]

Burke's wife is Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke. He and his wife were foster parents and were party to a protracted, highly publicized, racially charged child custody dispute.

Early life

Burke is a lifelong resident of Chicago. His father, Joseph P. Burke, was a Cook County Sheriff's policeman[8] who worked as a court bailiff. Joseph Burke served as committeeman from the 14th Ward (a local Democratic party post), and was elected alderman from the 14th Ward in November 1953.[9]

Ed Burke attended Visitation Grammar School in Visitation Parish on Chicago's South Side[10] and is a 1961 graduate of Quigley Preparatory Seminary. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from DePaul University in 1965, then worked for three years as a Chicago police officer, assigned to the state's attorney's office. Meanwhile, he studied law at DePaul University College of Law.[8] In 1968, Burke received a Juris Doctor degree, was admitted to the Illinois Bar, and married his wife, Anne Marie.[11]

While in law school in the late 1960s, an era of escalation in the Vietnam War, Burke received a draft deferment as a full-time student. After his marriage and the death of his father, he applied for and was granted a hardship deferment (3-A), as the sole support of his wife, mother, and two younger brothers. In June 1969, the Illinois Selective Service board of appeals reclassified him 1-A ("available for unrestricted military service").[12] At the same time, he was accepted into a Chicago-based United States Army Reserve unit, the 363rd civil affairs group, as a private.[13] Political rivals expressed concern that special consideration allowed Burke to join the Reserve unit ahead of others, but an Army investigation found no evidence of manipulation in his favor.[14][15]

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Simple English: Edward M. Burke