Alderman Ed Burke holds Christmas fundraiser after FBI raids his Chicago offices

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Embattled Chicago Ald. Ed Burke (14th Ward) held a Christmas party fundraiser Tuesday evening, less than a week after the feds raided his two aldermanic offices.

The event was held at the Sheraton Hotel in the River North neighborhood, where a fire truck with Santa and a banner with Burke's name on the side drove by the front of the hotel.

On Thursday, the FBI served a pair of search warrants on Burke's City Hall office and his ward office, taking out computers and other files. The FBI and prosecutors have not divulged why they raided his office.

RELATED: Ed Burke's Chicago offices raided by FBI agents executing search warrants

Last week, Burke said that he does not believe the feds will find anything amiss and said he is cooperating.

The party aims to make his own statement to supporters.

Tuesday night, a long line of supporters waited to get into the ballroom, including Ald. Marge Laurino (39th Ward).

Most guests declined comment.

However, former Ald. James Balcer said he was proud to be here to support his friend of 30 years.

Mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, called on Burke to step down as finance committee chair.

"I know from my experience and having prosecuted public corruption cases that you don't go public, meaning go overt with this kind of action unless you've got a lot of very strong evidence," Lightfoot said.

Political observers said longtime allies of Burke would show up to make a statement that they are standing by him, especially in light of that fact he has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

But Gery Chico, who Burke is supporting in the mayor's race, did not attend. His campaign said he has his own previously scheduled fundraiser at the same time tonight.

Lightfoot was asked if she thought those who do attend Burke's event are at all tainted by the cloud hanging over Burke.

"Well I think that's a question that they're gonna have to be asked, and rightly so, they show up and they go to kiss the ring under these circumstances I mean it raises serious questions about them and quite frankly their lock on the status quo," Lightfoot said.
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