Illinois State Representative Ken Dunkin Faces Vote-Buying Allegations; Prosecutors Investigating Complaint
Mar 08, 2016 01:02 AM EST
Prosecutors are investigating the complaint alleging Illinois state representative Ken Dunkin of vote-buying. The complaint was submitted by Alderman Pat Dowell, a supporter of Dunkin's opponent in the Democratic primary, Juliana Stratton.
In a report by ABC News, Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, said the office's election unit is now looking into the allegations. Dowell has released videos that she says were made by people who entered a campaign office of Dunkin to secretly record the supposed payments made in exchange for their votes.
In one of the videos, workers were said to be making payments with $50 bills while in another video, a building sporting the campaign signs of Dunkin shows a woman giving directions to another man as to how he can make money if he votes for a specific candidate, The State Journal-Register reported. The videos, however, have not been verified if they are authentic.
Dowell said that four people who went undercover have cast their ballots, collected the money, and spoke to the Chicago Police about the matter.
In Illinois, vote buying is considered as a Class 4 felony. The team of Dunkin has denied the allegations noting that the videos are baseless and made as part of the "desperate tactics" and "dirty tricks" of Stratton's supporters. Dunkin has been re-elected for his fifth term back in 2014.
Stratton has recently received support from President Barack Obama, who recorded radio and TV advertisements supporting her for the March 15 primary. Another supporter of Stratton is Secretary of State Jesse White. He said that the videos have made it clear that bribery was indeed taking place and that he is disappointed in Dunkin.
White added that the supposed vote-buying is a "violation of all laws of human decency, and shame on Mr. Dunkin and his organization" for doing what they are alleged of doing, Chicago Sun Times reported.
The race between Dunkin and Stratton is said to be one of the most expensive Illinois legislative primaries in history with $2 million recorded in contributions.