Corruption Allegations Embarass Chicago Mayor

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley (search) said Wednesday that new disclosures of corruption in city government, including allegations that payoff money found its way into his campaign fund, have left him "hurt, embarrassed, disappointed."

"Clearly, I'm not proud or pleased," Daley told a news conference, his first since a former city water official pleaded guilty to taking payoffs from trucking companies and said some of the money went to campaign funds, including Daley's.

It was the first time Daley's name surfaced in the yearlong investigation of the city's corruption-riddled, $38 million Hired Truck Program (search), which outsourced work to private trucking companies, some with mob ties.

Daley has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but said federal prosecutors had asked him not to go into detail about the ongoing investigation. In the past week, federal agents have carted off documents from several agencies in City Hall.

A number of city officials, including the former head of the Hired Truck Program, have already pleaded guilty to corruption charges. Others are awaiting trial.

Daley said it was important to "build on the reforms that were put into place after the first evidence of wrongdoing." Among other things, Daley has barred contractors who do business with the city from contributing to his campaign fund.

In his plea agreement Monday, former water official Gerald Wesolowski (search) said "city officials" directed payoff money from the Hired Truck Program into various campaign funds. Daley said if any of that money reached his campaign, he is considering returning it.

When asked which city officials may have directed the money, however, Daley ended the news conference, saying: "Everybody supported my campaign. Everybody knows that. I won last time with 80 percent" of the vote.