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sweet home chicago

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 16, 2009

Today's Chicago Sun-Times features an investigative exposé detailing the contents of a digital "hiring database" belonging to former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, currently under federal indictment for racketeering, extortion, and fraud. "The Blagojevich hiring database," reports the Sun-Times, "lists 386 political sponsors and 5,700 candidates for jobs or promotions controlled by Blagojevich's administration." Political opportunism operated in its customary Chicago fashion, with rewards commensurate with the sponsor's clout and with the pressure for payback. Records show that Senator Barack Obama sought sixteen hires and scored five. Heavyweight Alderman Ed Burke sought 90 jobs and landed 30. What the Sun-Times says about Burke's fixes is especially noteworthy:

Ald. Edward Burke [is] one of 30 Chicago aldermen the records show sent job requests to Blagojevich's office. Burke is listed as sponsoring Kathleen McChesney, former chief of Chicago's FBI office, for an undisclosed opening in an Illinois Department of Corrections post in January 2005 -- a post she ultimately didn't get. In an interview, McChesney said she had no idea why she was on the list and that she never sought a job with the state. Burke didn't respond to a request for comment.

The name Kathleen McChesney ring a bell? It should. She was the U.S. bishops' first appointee, in November 2002, as director of their Office of Child and Youth Protection. Alderman Burke's plug occurred just one month before she left the post.

Probably just a coincidence.

Anne Burke, who served as vice-chair of the USCCB's National Review Board on sexual abuse from 2002, and who became chair in 2003, turns out to be the wife of the same Alderman Burke who was so accommodating to Dr. McChesney.

Probably just a coincidence.

And how did it come about that McChesney was chosen to direct the OCYP in the first place? A puff-piece in the St Anthony Messenger (2003) says "she was recruited by a member of the new National Review Board, but gently declines offering further details."

Probably just a coincidence.

Now if you've been paying attention, you'll remember that McChesney's successor as executive director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection was Teresa Kettelkamp, who also boasted Illinois public sector connections. She had been a colonel in the Illinois State Police before her appointment.

Probably just a coincidence.

Kettelkamp was a member of the advisory board of the National Center for Women and Policing -- a project of Eleanor Smeal's Feminist Majority Foundation -- which made her an especially strange choice to direct an office established and funded by Roman Catholic bishops. The USCCB president himself insisted, somewhat too hastily, that there was no connection between the fiercely pro-abortion FMF and the work of the National Center for Women and Policing. How interesting that Kathleen McChesney, in the May before her appointment to OCYP, was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by -- can you guess? -- the FMF's National Center for Women and Policing.

Probably just a coincidence.

Is there reason to think Burke or McChesney or Kettelkamp have been derelict in their duties as set out by the Bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children? None that I'm aware of. But, as Phil Lawler has repeatedly pointed out in his writings on The Scandal, that Charter sidelined the clergyman perps, but signally failed to penalize those bishops who'd allowed the perps to abuse children in the first place. In other words: the Chicago girls did their jobs, and the bishops who hired them kept theirs.

Hey, probably just a coincidence.
 

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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Oct. 21, 2009 4:18 PM ET USA

    michaelrafferty, Follow the connections. Chicago: Home of corrupt politicians right up to Obama. Chicago: Also home of Cardinal Bernadin, late president of USCCB who had a homosexual protection racket in the highest levels of the USCCB. The USCCB needs to be fumigated.

  • Posted by: sparch - Oct. 18, 2009 12:22 PM ET USA

    By not vetting these people, the bishops have once again sullied their office and reputation. Can we please have people working and aiding the bishops who don't have a separate agenda from that of our church. Not as long as the bishops do not take these lay positions seriously.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Oct. 16, 2009 7:21 PM ET USA

    michaelrafferty, did you read the last two paragraphs?

  • Posted by: michaelrafferty5029 - Oct. 16, 2009 5:01 PM ET USA

    Interesting Chicago politics but what does it have to do with Catholic Culture?

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