CHICAGO (Fox 32 News) - Federal agents have once again raided the offices of a sitting Chicago alderman.
This time, they targeted the city's second longest serving council member: 34th Ward Alderman Carrie Austin.
At the time, Austin was at a nearby event with the mayor, announcing a summer mentoring program.
The raid took place Wednesday over several hours. It is unclear what the feds were looking for or if this is related to any ongoing investigations.
As Alderman Austin shared the stage with Mayor Lori Lightfoot at a South Side high school, federal agents were engaged in an hours-long raid at her ward office in Roseland.
Agents loaded boxes, a computer, and some items marked "evidence" into a black SUV and unmarked cars.
The agents spoke no words as they conducted their business. Their raid is the second known publically since the winter raid of the City Hall office of one-time finance committee chairman Alderman Ed Burke, who is facing political corruption charges after conversations were heard on tape with former Alderman Danny Solis. He was wearing a wire.
In office since the early 90's, Austin is the second longest serving council member behind Burke.
As agents were finishing their work, men claiming to be private security tried to get inside. They were turned away amid what is, perhaps, another step in a widespread federal probe into city aldermen.
The FBI would not comment other than to confirm their agents were at the office.
FOX 32 reached out to Austin directly and we have not heard back. She has not been charged with a crime.
At City Hall, Mayor Lightfoot said she was shocked by the FBI's raid on Austin. But she doubled-down on campaign promises of reform.
After the FBI revealed last winter that Alderman Solis was caught trading official acts for sex acts, and then agreed to wear a wire for the feds, City Hall insiders had been expecting agents to visit Alderman Austin. Just last month, one of the new mayor's first moves was to dump Austin from chairing the powerful budget committee, where Austin notoriously overspent her own budget by a million dollars in recent years.
"We evaluated the circumstances and felt like it was time to go in a different direction with the budget committee," Lightfoot said.
Austin, who is second in City Council seniority only to the already-indicted Alderman Burke, didn't bother to hide her dismay last winter at her former colleague Solis' co-operation with the feds, telling reporters it made her want to cry. Austin proudly packed her public payroll with family and friends, and famously cursed out Inspector General Joe Ferguson when he documented a long litany of wrongdoing by one of her city worker sons.
"It speaks to the need for us to really change the way we have governed ourselves, particularly at the city council level. People expect that elected officials are actually going to operate with full integrity, transparency and be responsive," Mayor Lightfoot said.
The mayor said she hopes aldermen will act quickly on a package of ethics reforms she proposed at the last City Council meeting.