THIS JUST IN… AG Madigan agrees to refer her investigation to the feds …UPDATED: Explosive allegations in Fitzgerald letter
Friday, Jun 30, 2006
From a press release:
Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced that she will refer her ongoing investigation of alleged illegal hiring practices in various state agencies to the U. S. Department of Justice at the request of U. S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.
I’ll post Fitzgerald’s letter in a minute or so.
UPDATE 2: Fitzgerald’s letter to Madigan claims that the federal investigation currently includes:
…the alleged rigging of state employment practices to enable political hiring in violation of Rutan and include, among other things, the preparation of fraudulent hiring documentation. Our investigation has implicated multiple state agencies and departments and we have developed a number of credible witnesses.
UPDATE 3: Fitzgerald goes on to discuss Madigan’s investigation.
While we were conducting our investigation [Redacted by the government] in November 2005 your office independently also obtained information concerning fraudulent hiring practices at two state agencies and commenced an investigation of those allegations.
UPDATE 4: ArchPundit makes a very good point in comments:
It sounds more like tests were being rigged instead of just preferring political allies over non-allies once they got in the pool. Worse, to do so requires a conspiracy–and that this includes essentially all Executive Agencies, a wide ranging conspiracy and could even provide enough for RICO predicates.
UPDATE 5: A very brief AP story is up:
Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration is the focus of an ongoing federal investigation that has “implicated multiple state agencies” in allegations of corrupt hiring, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has confirmed.
UPDATE 6: The AP now has a longer story posted.
Fitzgerald approved releasing the letter to the public, said Madigan spokeswoman Melissa Merz, and Madigan has agreed to drop her investigations. Merz would not comment further.
UPDATE 7: Statement from the Blagojevich office:
Statement from Abby Ottenhoff, Spokesperson for Gov. Blagojevich on letter released today by Attorney General Madigan:
So, a few “bad apples” are responsible for “very serious allegations of endemic hiring fraud“? Hardly. This statement tells us nothing, as usual.
UPDATE 8: The AP has transcribed the Fitzgerald letter from the original pdf format and posted it online in a more readable, quotable format.
UPDATE 9: The governor was in the Peoria area today. He was supposed to arrive about 2:30, less than an hour after this story broke. So far, there’s nothing online yet except this WMBD story about him touting All Kids. I fear the story may have broken too late for the locals to figure out what was going on and ask him about it.
UPDATE 10: Notice in “Update 7″ how the Blagojevich press release talks about referring cases to the US Attorney’s office and diligently rooting out corruption and cooperating with law enforcement?
Also, notice Patrick Fitzgerald’s praise for AG Lisa Madigan’s investigative work in his letter.
We recognize that significant effort was expended by your office concerning allegedly illegal hiring activities, and appreciate the professionalism of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General […]
My point is, where’s the letter from US Attorney Fitzgerald praising the governor’s efforts to root out corruption? If he doesn’t have one, and can’t get one, then what does that say about the governor’s press release? Do they understand how much they insult our intelligence and do they enjoy it?
UPDATE 11: “Fitz of July” or “4th of July Fitzworks”? Which do you prefer? Got any others? (”Fitzmas in July” has been suggested in comments.)
UPDATE 12: Tribune:
Fitzgerald’s comments, contained in a letter he wrote June 20 to Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, represent the clearest explanation to date of the efforts by federal prosecutors to examine potential wrongdoing within the state’s hiring system.