Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday gave a highly paid position to the daughter of the Illinois Supreme Court justice who swore him into office and a powerful Chicago alderman who was a major campaign donor.
Attorney Jennifer Burke, 41, was named to the Illinois Pollution Control Board, a post that pays $117,043, Quinn’s office said.
She is the daughter of Justice Anne Burke and 14th Ward Ald. Ed Burke, chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee. Jennifer Burke works for the city as an assistant corporation counsel supervisor. As of last month, her annual salary was $99,948.
Reached by phone, Justice Burke said she had not heard of her daughter’s appointment and that it is “absolutely not” connected to political donations to Quinn. The justice said she had no further comment.
Disclosures showed the Friends of Edward M. Burke campaign fund loaned Quinn $200,000 during his campaign for governor and donated more than $52,000 since Justice Burke swore Quinn into office in January 2009 following the ouster of Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Quinn’s office also rejected the notion that campaign donations played a role in the appointment. Quinn spokeswoman Annie Thompson defended Jennifer Burke’s nomination, saying she most recently focused on regulatory and environmental protection issues for the city.
Also Wednesday, the governor named the replacement on the Illinois Prisoner Review Board for his failed former choice, former Rep. Careen Gordon, who lost a re-election bid in November. In January, the Morris Democrat voted for a tax hike backed by Quinn and days later was appointed to the parole board. Gordon resigned when her Senate confirmation was in trouble, and Quinn appointed her to a separate agency position that did not need Senate approval.
Quinn’s new appointee is Jennifer Parrack, who handled capital murder cases in the office of the state appellate defender. Quinn abolished the death penalty earlier this year. Pay for the Prisoner Review Board position is $85,886.
The nominations of Burke and Parrack will go before the Illinois Senate for confirmation.