Clerk Martinez Responds to Scathing Article; Accusations from Opponent

Clerk Martinez Responds to Scathing Article; Accusations from Opponent
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Clerk Martinez Responds to Scathing Article; Accusations from Opponent (Chicago, IL) — Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Iris Y. Martinez has authored a response to her opponent, Mariyana Spyropoulos, and to the Chicago Tribune regarding a scathing article that questioned her ethics as a leader. The article accused Martinez of “pay to play” politics. Her response follows:

“On December 17th, an article authored by A.D. Quig was published in the Chicago Tribune, addressing the operations of the office of the Circuit Court during my tenure. I want to emphasize that my extensive career in politics spans over four decades, characterized by an unblemished record of integrity and dedicated public service.

“Unfortunately, it has come to my attention that Ms. Quig’s article appears to be influenced by partisan interest. This narrative appears to be orchestrated by my political opponent, a wealthy individual with ties to the Venezuelan oil industry.

“I would like to point out that Ms. Quig allowed an interviewee to insinuate, without concrete evidence or any specific accusations, that either myself or my associates in the office engage in activities such as pressuring individuals to make contributions or gather petition signatures. Nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, pressure is being applied to those who would otherwise support my independent candidacy.

“Our campaign submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Cook County Clerk’s office, which indicates that Ms. Quig did not independently investigate the matter but instead relied on information about signature circulators provided by our opponent and her supporters, who were the only ones to request copies of my nomination petitions.

“I echo the sentiments of Michael Shakman, who states that exempt positions are intended to allow officeholders to hire individuals aligned with the office’s mission and goals. I firmly believe that when the Democratic Party establishment diverts its support from a career public servant Latina incumbent to a wealthy Venezuelan oil heiress, employees who share our office’s mission should have the first amendment right to volunteer their support on their time for something they believe in.

“Accusations of “pay to play” without any substantiating evidence are irresponsible and do not align with responsible journalism. Over the past three years, the hard-working employees in our office have collectively donated $45,000 to my campaign committees, a testament to their belief in our mission and my leadership. Many of the 52 employees who donated have known me for decades and are committed to seeing our important work on behalf of Cook County residents continue.

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“In contrast, my opponent, who comes from a privileged background, contributed $85,400 to the Cook County Democratic Party from her largely self-funded political committee during the same period, with promises of more contributions in the future.

“Under my leadership, the Clerk’s office has achieved significant milestones, including exiting federal hiring oversight, complying with the Shakman decree, receiving a national award for our COVID-19 Attestation Management System (CAMS), and improving transparency and accessibility through the establishment of the first of its kind Call Center and digitizing court records. We have also addressed significant backlogs, processing over 5,500 expungement petitions and recalling over 11,000 old warrants.

“Our newly established Domestic Violence Center provides a safe haven for victims to come forward and press charges against their perpetrators. Additionally, our upcoming expungement center aims to streamline the process for individuals seeking a fresh start.

“I have formally requested an in-person meeting with the Chicago Tribune editorial board to address any questions related to the administration of the Clerk’s office. This will enable the Tribune to present an accurate account of our office’s achievements and, importantly, dispel any misconceptions and false claims perpetuated by my opponent by issuing a comprehensive retraction in their publication.

“It is essential to clarify that the raises in question are, in fact, cost of living allowances, the result of title merges consistent with equivalent positions and job descriptions throughout the entire Cook County government system, or necessary promotions to fill vacancies.

“As I seek to secure victory in the upcoming primary election on March 19th, I am proud to run on my record of dedicated and transparent public service and my commitment to the betterment of Cook County.”

Clerk Martinez Responds to Scathing Article; Accusations from Opponent

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