Troutman’s audacious self-dealing hardly stands out against the backdrop of generations of local political flimflammery. The Chicago Tribune, in fact, has helpfully assembled an aldermanic Hall of Shame that stretches back to 1972, chronicling the petty payoffs, small-scale extortions and palm greasings made possible by one of Chicago’s most hallowed political traditions: aldermanic privilege. It’s not a law. It’s a custom. And it’s one that would have been pointless to challenge—that is, until we learned this month how the city’s most powerful alderman, Ed Burke, had elevated the craft to an apparent art form.