Three projects under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Rebuild Illinois program, including a proposed port in beleaguered downstate Cairo, have benefited his friends or political allies. Pritzker insists the projects were funded on their merits.
Chuck Neubauer is an award-winning investigative reporter who has a five-decade track record of breaking high-impact stories about public officials, from Chicago City Council members to powerful members of Congress.
He is currently based in Washington, D.C. after years of working in Chicago as an investigative reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times and earlier for the Chicago Tribune where he shared in a Pulitzer Prize with the late George Bliss for a series on abuses in federal housing programs.
He and his wife, Sandy Bergo, have spent the last 10 years doing freelance investigative stories as special contributors for the Illinois Answers Project and the Better Government Association. Their reporting has looked into the actions of politicians ranging from Ald. Edward M. Burke to former House Speaker Michael J. Madigan to former Rep. Bobby Rush to Gov. J.B. Pritzker. They have also reported on how leaders of the Illinois legislature skirted campaign finance limits and also on the generous pensions some Illinois lawmakers receive.
At the Sun-Times, Neubauer, along with Mark Brown and Michael Briggs, reported in the 1990s that powerful House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski misused hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal taxpayer funds to purchase three personal cars, buy expensive gifts for friends and hire staffers who did personal work for him. Those disclosures were the basis for several counts in the federal indictment against Rostenkowski who pleaded guilty and served 17 months in prison.
Neubauer’s reporting also helped lead to federal criminal charges and convictions of former Illinois Governor Dan Walker, Illinois Attorney General William J. Scott and former Illinois State Treasurer Jerry Cosentino.
In 2001, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked for the Los Angeles Times and later the Washington Times, exposing conflicts of interests involving Senate and House leaders.
Neubauer began his career as the BGA’s first intern in 1971 before becoming a reporter.
A Powerful Pritzker Administration Insider Cashed In as a Consultant
In 10 months after leaving state government, Nikki Budzinski earned more than $500,000 from a lobbyist, big-money Democratic groups that don’t disclose their donors, and political and labor organizations. Now she’s running for Congress.
Pritzker’s Personal Fortune Intersects With State Contracts
The governor’s promises to divest his vast portfolio of state contractors have not extended to his so-called blind trust, which has the governor’s money in at least a dozen companies with billions in state business
Pritzker Orders Funds Released to Madigan-Sponsored Projects
Citing a BGA investigation, nine lawmakers requested a funding freeze in the wake of former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s 22-count federal indictment on charges he traded his office to enrich himself and his friends.
Pritzker Freezes Funds to Madigan-Sponsored Projects
Citing a BGA investigation, nine lawmakers requested the freeze in the wake of former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s 22-count federal indictment on charges he traded his office to enrich himself and his friends.
Projects With Madigan Ties Went to the Front of the Line in State’s Massive Rebuild Illinois List
The $45 billion statewide capital plan includes $4 billion in pet projects added by a handful of the state’s most powerful politicians, including the former speaker.
Top Legislators Blowing Past Limits in Illinois Campaign Finance Reform Law
Democrats violate the spirit of a law they authored. Republicans take advantage of loopholes in legislation they opposed. Both sides reap millions from big-money contributors and dole out cash to favored legislative candidates.
Poderosos Funcionarios Electos Exceden los Límites en Contribuciones Políticas
Los demócratas han destrozado el propósito de la ley que ellos mismos crearon. Los republicanos se han aprovechado de un resquicio legal al que ellos mismos se opusieron cuando la ley se creó. Ambos partidos han recaudado millones de dólares en contribuciones.
Lawmakers in Hot Water With Feds Get Campaign Cash That Helps Pay Defense Lawyers
In one of his last acts, now-retired Illinois Senate President John Cullerton OK’d sending nearly $100,000 to two state senators under federal investigation.
ComEd Kept Paying Madigan Confidant After Retirement Announcement
The power company paid $361,000 in 2017 and 2018 to a clout-heavy ex-lobbyist whose home was raided by the feds in May.