updated 2/14/2007 3:08:05 PM ET 2007-02-14T20:08:05

A mayor whose administration is under federal investigation. An alderman who just got hit with a federal bribery charge. Four politicians who served time for corruption and want their old jobs back.

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All are candidates in this month’s municipal elections in Chicago, a city legendary for graft.

“At this juncture, people just shrug it off as more Chicago,” said longtime political consultant Don Rose.

At the top of the Feb. 27 ballot is Mayor Richard M. Daley, who is running for a sixth term amid a corruption investigation.

Federal officials have nailed dozens of people, including Daley’s former patronage chief and a former city clerk, in an investigation that started with bribes paid to city officials for trucking work and expanded into a broad look at City Hall hiring practices. The mayor has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

Daley blames the wrongdoing on a “few bad apples” and is expected to sail to re-election against two lesser-known political figures who have tried to make an issue of the corruption.

He said in December that he has taken responsibility for rooting out corruption, retooling Chicago’s hiring system and limiting fundraising.

“So far, sure, I think I’ve done enough,” he said.

If he is re-elected and serves the full four-year term, he would eclipse his father, the legendary Richard J. Daley, as Chicago’s longest-serving mayor. The elder Daley served for 21 years and died in office.

‘I have been an upstanding alderman’
Daley has largely been able to brush off corruption questions, instead focusing on improvements in schools, city development and success in lowering crime.

He also got a break when two congressmen who had been considering running for mayor, Jesse Jackson Jr. and Luis Gutierrez, decided against it after the Democrats took control of the House in the November elections.

As for the City Council candidates, Alderman Arenda Troutman, who represents a ward on the South Side, was charged in January with taking a $5,000 payoff to help a bogus developer move forward on a building project. Federal agents had to break a window at her home to arrest her after she refused to let them inside.

Troutman, who has asserted her innocence, does not have to resign her seat while she deals with the charges, but would lose it if convicted. She faces two challengers.

“I have been an upstanding alderman for 17 years,” she said after her arrest. She was appointed by Daley in 1990 to fill a vacancy on the council, whose members make $98,125 a year.

Meanwhile, four former aldermen who were convicted of graft want their old jobs back.

‘I paid my debt to society’
Three of them — Ambrosio Medrano, Virgil Jones and Percy Giles — were snared in the federal government’s Operation Silver Shovel investigation in the 1990s. The fourth, Wallace Davis Jr., was convicted of taking bribes and extortion in a separate federal probe in the 1980s.

Medrano, who pleaded guilty in 1996 to taking $31,000 in bribes and served almost two years in prison, said he has two records: one of having committed a “grave mistake” and another of service to his community.

“I think all of that should be taken into consideration,” said the 53-year-old Medrano.

Similarly, Davis, a 55-year-old restaurant owner who spent four years behind bars, said: “I paid my debt to society.”

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners ruled that two of the ex-con aldermen whose candidacies had been challenged could remain on the ballot even though state law bars convicted felons from holding municipal office.

Chicago elections spokesman Tom Leach said court rulings conflict on the constitutionality of the law. The decision has been appealed.

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