Leef rebuts Martwick on corruption
Republican candidate for Illinois’ 7th Congressional District Dr. Jeffrey Leef, a University of Chicago radiologist, recently responded to the controversy swirling around state Rep. Robert Martwick (D-Chicago), lately a central figure in Illinois’ financial crisis.
Leef said he was concerned about voters’ access to accurate information in the information age. Data is virtually available to everyone at the mere touch of a fingertip, but if oversight lags even momentarily, misinformation or inaccuracies can plague the public via social media, creating static along lines of communication.
In Martwick’s case, statements made via social media have created controversy among constituents. Martwick compared withholding legislators’ pay to bribery, suggesting that both were equally fraudulent acts.
“Offering a financial incentive to an elected official to secure their vote on a subject is corruption,” Martwick said on Facebook Aug. 5. “If you do that, you will go to jail.”
When Martwick added, “Withholding pay in order to force a vote is no different,” Leef responded with misgivings of his own.
“The sad fact is that in today's society, our Encyclopedia Britannica of the past has been replaced with tweets, memes and Facebook posts as the main source of ‘facts,’” Leef said. “Voters need to do their due diligence, obtain readily accessible information, and vote people like this out of office. Soon we will likely have another president who, at levels never before seen, also speaks in sound bites [appealing] to the masses.”
When Martwick’s first tirade drew criticism, he stuck to his guns rather than respond to residents’ concerns. He subsequently commented on Aug. 10 that decisions affecting the middle class and poor are “made by wealthy people who most likely do not deal with the same daily struggles as the people who their decisions are affecting.”
It was when Martwick said, “That is nothing less than a corruption of our democracy” that Leef’s dander was raised.
“Whether it's Hillary Clinton nationally or the likes of (House Speaker) Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) or Robert Martwick locally, I urge voters to acknowledge that what emanates from that hole in their faces is factless nonsense,” Leef stated.
Martwick also apparently didn’t foresee the inevitable parallels his critics would draw from his record. Family connections link him to certain greater Chicago area law firms that profit directly from property tax cases. He and his father, Robert Martwick Sr. — plus Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan and Chicago Alderman Ed Burke — all run property-tax law firms in Cook County.
As one of a group of state representatives who voted against a property-tax freeze in April, Martwick also fought against policies that would benefit his constituents. Yet, when he and his colleagues weren’t paid sooner than the state’s vendors — who themselves must deal with untimely payments due to Illinois’ $7.5 billion budget backlog — he complained.
“Am I seeing things?” said Leef. “Someone who works, not for the people, but for Madigan and [John] Cullerton (D-Chicago), is preaching about corruption? Could it be that the party of Obama is the poor party that's having laws shoved down its throat?”
Additionally, Martwick previously lobbied for a 2014 law that could have limited ridesharing activity in Chicago and denied Andrade the much-needed income had it passed (the bill was ultimately vetoed by then-Gov. Pat Quinn). Altogether, Martwick’s position has done little to earn him sympathy among Illinois’ citizens.
“I can hardly blame Representative Martwick for using this tactic,” Leef stated. “It's right out of the Clinton playbook…Here's a novel thought, ladies and gentlemen: Do your job and then get paid.”
A resident of River Forest, Leef described himself as “a physician by vocation and a politician by necessity.” His decision to run for office was sparked by both a disproportionate number of unopposed candidates and his strong belief in term limits.