CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago Alderman Willie Cochran is under investigation by the FBI after reportedly being accused of misusing campaign money.
Sources told CBS 2, Ald. Willie Cochran now has a criminal defense lawyer. He had no comment for CBS 2, Lauren Victory reports.
FBI investigators are looking into “loans” documented in campaign finance filings. The elected official allegedly paid himself, which is not illegal, but is unusual.
“The bigger issue that the federal government is now investigating is whether or not he told IRS that he took the money,” said former alderman, Dick Simpson. “If he forgot to do that, that is a federal crime and that is serious. That would be viewed as corruption.”
A Democratic strategist told CBS 2 that Cochran told him his use of campaign funds for personal expenses, college tuition and more are under scrutiny.
The source said other allegations include shaking down aldermanic staff and creating a dummy campaign account that was actually a personal one.
“Once you start investigating,” Simpson said. “There is all kinds of things you can suddenly investigate and most public officials who come under investigation from the federal government have not faired well.”
Ald. Cochran called the situation a “bookkeeping error” in a Facebook post made earlier Wednesday. He also declined to comment when CBS 2 went into his office and via text message.
Thirty-three Chicago Aldermen have had corruption convictions since 1971.