A 19-year-old DePaul University student who lost a close election earlier this year hailed the announcement of a grand jury looking into an election challenge he called an attempt at intimidation.
David Krupa said he was encouraged after a Cook County grand jury subpoenaed records associated with 13th Ward Alderman Marty Quinn’s challenge of Krupa's nominating signatures.
“I think it’s a huge opportunity to take back the state from corrupt officials,” Krupa said in an interview with the Chicago City Wire.
Krupa deemed the challenge to be a form of harassment and an effort to intimidate from Quinn and House Speaker Mike Madigan, the 13th Ward’s longtime Democratic committeeman and Chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.
“Nobody ever denied that this happened, but I feel now that there’s a jury involved the people that were harassed can finally seek justice,” he said. “I’m happy for all those people and I’m happy that these actions will have consequences.”
The Chicago Tribune reported that while specifics of the probe related to the subpoena remain uncertain, they center on Quinn submitting almost 2,800 affidavits, or more than a thousand more than 1,729 Krupa actually submitted to get on the ballot, to challenge the legitimacy of Krupa's candidacy.
In time, it was found that only 187 signatures submitted by Quinn actually matched signatures in Krupa’s paperwork, prompting Quinn to ultimately abandon his challenge.
“I did not expect (Cook County State’s Attorney) Kim Foxx’s office to take action,” Krupa said. “I was never contacted, and Quinn was never contacted, either. I’m actually looking forward to hearing more about this.”
In late December, the board of elections moved to advance the case by referring it to federal prosecutors.
News of the probe comes as several former high-level associates of Madigan are under criminal scrutiny and just months after Chicago Alderman Ed Burke, the longest serving member in city government, faced a federal corruption indictment.
More recently, Illinois state Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) was hit with a 41-count federal corruption indictment alleging that he pocketed at least $275,000 in salary from a union job where he was rarely required to show up for work and had no job description.
All of the recent oversight action gives Krupa, a 19-year-old DePaul University student, hope.
“I think this is one large step in the right direction,” he said. “It really took the federal government to bring down the corrupt monopoly in Illinois state politics.”
Krupa said he can now only hope that voters will remain vigilant in doing what is best for the state.
“I think that it’s easy for one machine to replace another, and I hope that Illinois voters don’t allow it,” he said. “But, I certainly think we’re seeing a regime change, all this corrupt activity is finally getting exposed.”