On Thursday morning, federal agents showed up at the office of Edward Burke — a former tax attorney for the Trump Organization — put brown paper over the windows, and initiated a raid.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that, as of 1 PM local time, agents were still inside Burke’s office. It’s unclear what they’re searching for, or if Burke has been charged with a crime.
Source says feds showed up this am, asked everyone to leave and put brown paper on the doors. pic.twitter.com/4qJBwzoKF4
— Fran Spielman (@fspielman) November 29, 2018
Burke, a longtime Chicago alderman, worked for the Trump Organization for 12 years before he parted ways with the real estate company run by President Trump’s family. The Sun-Times reported that Burke had successfully cut property taxes on the Trump International Hotel and Tower in downtown Chicago by more than $14 million.
Congressman-elect Jesus “Chuy” Garcia criticized Burke’s relationship with Trump, pointing out that he is the alderman of a predominantly Hispanic district while simultaneously working for a man who has repeatedly stereotyped Hispanics.
“The fact that [Burke] has been Trump’s lawyer on reducing his property taxes and has been part of the property tax system in Chicago that has affected working people more than anybody else in a regressive manner are issues that have to be taken into account,” Garcia told the Sun-Times in April. “It was highly offensive to the community. Anyone who isn’t representing the community’s interests should be worried.”
The raid on Burke’s office comes at a time when multiple Trump associates are in the midst of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Former Trump campaign worker George Papadopoulos — one of the first guilty pleas Mueller snagged — recently reported to prison for lying to the FBI. Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort is also likely to be sentenced soon, after violating his plea agreement by lying to Mueller’s team.
Additionally, former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen on Thursday pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about a proposed Trump Organization real estate project in Moscow. Cohen told the Senate Intelligence Committee that the project fell through in January, when in fact he had briefed Trump about it directly in June of 2016 — just a month prior to the Republican National Convention. Cohen previously pleaded guilty to multiple felonies involving campaign finance fraud, tax fraud, and bank fraud in August, testifying that Trump directly approved “hush money” payments to Stormy Daniels.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.