DON BABWIN, Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) — Prosecutors in Illinois are “looking into” allegations that campaign workers for a Democratic lawmaker involved in a contentious primary are paying people to vote for him.
A spokeswoman for Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez says the office’s election unit is handling the matter involving state Rep. Ken Dunkin.
Chicago Alderwoman Pat Dowell told prosecutors that volunteers secretly recorded videos showing the payments.
Secretary of State Jesse White and Dowell appeared at a South Side press conference to accuse Dunkin of buying early votes in the battle to keep his 5th District seat in the state House of Representatives.
In one video, a woman outside Dunkin’s Chicago office appears to give directions to a man about how he can make $50 if he votes a certain way. The Associated Press couldn’t immediately verify the video’s authenticity.
Campaign workers noticed a larger-than-normal early voter turnout Saturday at the Chicago Bee Branch library, Dowell said.
So four unnamed volunteers decided to go undercover. Dowell claims voters were being vetted at Dunkin’s campaign headquarters in the 2900 block of South Wabash, told to vote for Dunkin, taken to the library and returned to Dunkin’s campaign office to collect $50 or $100.
The four people who went undercover cast ballots, collected money and have since spoken to Chicago Police, Dowell said.
Dunkin’s opponent, Juliana Stratton, received a rare endorsement Monday from President Barack Obama. Fellow Democrats have criticized Dunkin for supporting Republican positions.
His political fund also landed the largest single campaign contribution in state history — $500,000 from a political action committee backed by supporters of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Dunkin didn’t immediately return a call for comment.