Foxx: Berrios shouldn’t use special state’s attorney to fight ethics law

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is clashing with Assessor Joseph Berrios over his use of a special state’s attorney to challenge the constitutionality of a county ordinance that limits campaign contributions.

Foxx has endorsed allowing a special state’s attorney, Kevin Forde, to defend Berrios as the county Board of Ethics seeks to fine the assessor $41,000 for accepting excess contributions from tax appeals lawyers. Forde, a private attorney, plans to ask the ethics board to reconsider the fines.

But when Forde also filed a lawsuit on Berrios’ behalf that challenges the county’s contribution limits, the action went beyond the parameters of Forde’s assignment, according to court papers filed Feb. 1 by Assistant State’s Attorney Paul Fangman.

The lawsuit was only “nominally brought” by Berrios in his official role as assessor, Foxx argued in her petition, saying the “true plaintiff” in the suit is Berrios as a political candidate.

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