Fresh from lobbying for her friends at ShoreBank, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) is at the center of another Chicago bank scandal–this time involving the remnants of a bank with connections to convicted former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, convicted fraudster Tony Rezko, and Barack Obama.
Under pressure from a contributor named Balvinder Singh (who gave her $500 in 2004, $2000 in 2006, and who knows what in 2010), Schakowsky twisted arms at the United Central Bank to back away from foreclosing on Singh and on several other business owners in Chicago’s West Rogers Park neighborhood.
United Central Bank took over the failed Mutual Bank of Harvey in 2009. According to Crain’s Chicago Business, Mutual funded Barack Obama’s “boneheaded” land deal with Rezko. Mutual’s former CEO also once raised major cash for Blagojevich.
The ghost of Mutual has returned to haunt Chicago politics, this time in a pay-to-play scheme that has unfolded barely a month before Election Day, with Schakowsky, the embattled incumbent, desperate and dishing out favors to survive.
Local journalists have heaped praise on Schakowsky for “saving” the neighborhood. In fact, West Rogers Park has suffered 253 foreclosures in the residential market in the last year alone, to say nothing of business foreclosures, according to the local Pioneer Press.
Schakowsky’s intervention will help less than a tiny fraction of the people in the neighborhood who are struggling to pay their loans.
As for Singh, he is no small fish. He has donated over $30,000 to Democrats in recent years, including to Obama in both his campaigns for U.S. Senate and for president.
My campaign will be filing a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) on Monday. We will be asking the OCE to waive its usual rule against investigations within 60 days of an election, because Ms. Schakowsky’s conduct occurred within that 60-day window.
The real victims of Jan Schakowsky’s behavior are the thousands of families in the 9th congressional district who are losing their homes and businesses because they can’t cough up thousands of dollars to pay their elected representative.