Toni Preckwinkle distances herself from mayoral campaign donation solicited by Ed Burke

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle is doing everything she can to distance herself from Ed Burke and avoid as much political fallout as possible. But she apparently is not ready to part ways with the money he raised for her during a now-controversial fundraiser tied to the charges against him.

While attending a funeral for a longtime Chicago political consultant on Friday, Preckwinkle tried to limit the fallout to her mayoral campaign from the Ed Burke extortion allegations by shifting the focus to him.

"It is clear he can no longer uphold the integrity of the public office and should step down from his role as alderman immediately," she said.

Preckwinkle's ties to the federal case against Burke stem from a fundraiser Burke and his wife, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, held at their home for Preckwinkle in January 2018.

The owner of a fast food restaurant, who Burke is charged with extorting to get business for his property tax law firm, then made a $10,000 donation to Preckwinkle's County Board President campaign. Preckwinkle said the donation was rejected because it exceeded the legal limit. On Thursday night, she filed an amended campaign finance report to reflect that.

When asked if she will you return all of the money from the fundraiser that Ed Burke held for her, Preckwinkle answered: "To be determined."

But with Preckwinkle now vulnerable, other candidates continue to circle like sharks sensing blood.

"She absolutely should return all of the money that came from the Burke fundraiser and other funds that have been extorted," said mayoral candidate Dorothy Brown.

"This isn't a complicated thing, this is tainted money. She should never have taken it in the first place," said Lori Lightfoot, another candidate for mayor.

Bob Fioretti is calling for Preckwinkle to drop out of the race.

"She was on the receiving end of the money that Ed Burke allegedly extorted from the Burger King owner. And that money was used against me in the Cook County Board President's race," Fioretti said.

Preckwinkle, of course, has no intention of dropping out of the race. She said they will be reviewing the donations from the Burke-hosted fundraiser with a determination about what to do with the money to be made at some later point.
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