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State Probing Mayoral Nominating Petitions

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Illinois Secretary of State's police has launched an investigation into apparently faked notary public signatures on hundreds of nominating petitions submitted by four candidates for mayor.

And Mayor Richard M. Daley said Saturday that he believes the investigation needs to go one step further.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780's Mary Frances Bragiel reports:


"There should be federal investigations, state investigations," Daley said. "If I did that, the feds would be right after me tomorrow. They'd be chasing me down the street."

Mayoral candidate James Meeks earlier had called for an investigation of people accused of falsifying candidate nominating petitions for his campaign and those of three other candidates: Carol Moseley Braun, Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins and Rob Halpin.

The Secretary of State's police are expected to consult with the Illinois Attorney General's office or the Cook County State's Attorney's office about its probe.

Daley said a fake notary on petitions is a federal and state violation, and in the end it ends up costing the taxpayers money because the petitions have to be reviewed.

Meeks acknowledged that, like other candidates, his campaign paid people to help gather signatures on nominating petitions. Some of those people have been accused of falsifying the notarizing of those petitions.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780's Craig Dellimore reports:


The Chicago Sun-Times has reported that at least two notaries have said their signatures and stamps were faked on hundreds of petition sheets submitted by four mayoral candidates, including Meeks.

So far, there has not been any allegation of wrongdoing by the campaigns themselves. The campaigns have said indicated the petitions in question were gathered by paid circulators.

"When they come back to our office with stamped, notarized petitions, we take them, put them in our stack and we pay the individuals," "We have recently found out through these investigations that some of them are fraudulent. I believe that there should be an investigation."

Meeks said that such fraud could "cripple" the campaigns of well-meaning candidates, although he said his has not been crippled, in part because no one has challenged his petitions.

Meeks is the guest on WBBM's "At Issue" program this weekend, and you can hear more of his comments Sunday evening at 9:30 p.m.


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