Chicago Board of Ethics fines Ald. Carrie Austin’s political committee $145,500

Gregory Pratt, Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Board of Ethics fined embattled South Side Ald. Carrie Austin’s political committee $145,500 for accepting more money in campaign cash from a contributor than is allowed, officials said.

Austin accepted $48,500 more from a vendor that’s doing business with the city than is legally allowed, officials said.

The board fined the 34th Ward Regular Democratic Committee $145,500 and hit the contributor, Benchmark Construction Company, with a $5,000 fine.

A man who answered the phone at Austin’s ward office declined to comment.

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As of Dec. 31, Austin’s political fund had nearly $8,300 on hand.

Austin, the second-longest serving alderman, once was a top City Council leader and ally to former Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel. But Mayor Lori Lightfoot stripped Austin of her Budget Committee chairmanship after taking office, instead creating the new Committee on Contracting Oversight and Equity, and naming Austin to its helm.

FBI agents raided Austin’s Far South Side ward office in June 2019, hauling out boxes and files. Austin, the longtime 34th Ward alderman, has not been charged with any crime and has denied any wrongdoing.

gpratt@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @royalpratt