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No evidence found of violations in Madigan Metra case

Thursday, Apr 10, 2014

* Tribune

An investigation by the Illinois legislative inspector general into allegations of political pressure at Metra found that House Speaker Michael Madigan did not violate the state’s ethics act, Madigan’s office said today.

Heather Wier Vaught, the ethics officer for the House Democratic Caucus, said she received word that Legislative Inspector General Tom Homer found no violation of any law and has concluded his investigation. […]

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said the speaker asked Homer to look into the matter over the summer and participated in Homer’s inquiry.

“The conclusion was there was no wrongdoing” by “everybody who looked at the facts,” Brown said.

* But Tom Homer sent a statement to reporters which included these remarks

A decision to close an investigation based on insufficient evidence does not constitute a good housekeeping seal of approval or a best practices award.

Moreover, closure does not bar the Inspector General from resuming the investigation if circumstances warrant.

Hmm.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


19 Comments
  1. - 3rd Generation Chicago Native - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 9:34 am:

    I am not surprised, Madigan has been around a long time, and knows how to avoid problems(for himself personally). You can’t last that long and not know the ins and outs of politics and trouble.


  2. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 9:37 am:

    **Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said the speaker asked Homer to look into the matter over the summer and participated in Homer’s inquiry.**

    Brown followed up with the following statement: “We do so much stuff around here, we don’t know whether half of it is illegal or not. We need other folks to look into stuff and help us determine whether what we do is within the bounds of the law.”


  3. - Just Me - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 9:38 am:

    I’m sure Susan Garrett will issue the following statement soon: This legislative inspector general cannot be trusted because he was appointed by the same people he inspects. This report is worthless and cannot be trusted. We need to file a bill to have someone independent appoint the inspector general so he can investigate with true independence. That bill should include a commission of independent law enforcement professionals who are unelected and independent of all politics. We also need to create another commission of independent panels to ensure that the independent law enforcement professionals are independent of all other dependents to ensure independency.


  4. - Frustrated Voter - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 9:38 am:

    Nothing to see here…move along.


  5. - A guy... - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 9:48 am:

    ====A decision to close an investigation based on insufficient evidence does not constitute a good housekeeping seal of approval or a best practices award.

    Moreover, closure does not bar the Inspector General from resuming the investigation if circumstances warrant.====

    Kinda jerky on Tom Homer’s part. Dude, if you’ve got something that says there’s fire under that smoke, then say it. If you don’t…shut up. No one’s looking for the Good Housekeeping seal of approval from him. A simple “We looked into it very carefully and it doesn’t warrant further action” would be sufficient. Adding “We will continue to be vigilant in this area” would be even more sufficient.

    What he actually said makes him look a bit inept i.e. I smell a rat, but we’re outta cheese. Jeesh.


  6. - spliff - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 9:51 am:

    Just me — FYI Susan Garrett isn’t in the GA anymore.


  7. - Just Me - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 9:54 am:

    Spliff - she now runs a “good government” group which is very independent


  8. - Walker - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    Those sound like pretty standard caveats at the end of an IG report that found nothing significant.


  9. - Langhorne - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 10:11 am:

    legislators, especially the speaker of the house, have no business recommending anyone in the bureaucracy for promotions or pay raises. even if it is not illegal, to me it is certainly unethical. it is unethical because of the perception of power and influence. do this or else. nothing direct. just something unfortunate down the road.


  10. - Walker - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 10:37 am:

    Langhorne: Agree.

    We should hold those in government to higher standards than those in general society.


  11. - Wumpus - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 10:54 am:

    Madigan Palpatine may not always be the most ethical guy, but I would never ever call him dumb.


  12. - follies - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    ==legislators, especially the speaker of the house, have no business recommending anyone in the bureaucracy for promotions or pay raises. even if it is not illegal, to me it is certainly unethical. it is unethical because of the perception of power and influence. do this or else. nothing direct. just something unfortunate down the road. ==

    What I don’t get is why everyone is so quick to judge a public official who makes a recommendation, but doesn’t condemn the bank president or corporate vice president who makes recommendations, or the agency that received the recommendation. There is nothing wrong with an elected official making a recommendation. Personally I do not see how it is unethical to put in a good word for someone you know. People make recommendations all the time, why should a public official lose their First Amendment right to say something simply because they have been elected?

    The problem is how the agency treats the recommendation.


  13. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 11:05 am:

    Back when Madigan and Neil Hartigan were at loggerheads, wasn’t Homer Hartigan’s guy in the House?


  14. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 1:28 pm:

    This is about as surprising as Chris Christie’s lawyer exonerating him after receiving a million taxpayer bucks. And Homer’s last comment can be read in a couple of ways:

    1) I object to your calling my whitewash a whitewash; or

    2) Please don’t rub it in that I went easy on the guy who ensures I continue to have this job.


  15. - Blah - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    ==Please don’t rub it in that I went easy on the guy who ensures I continue to have this job.==

    Tom Homer already announced he is retiring. He has no reason to go lightly on Madigan.


  16. - A guy... - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 3:30 pm:

    ==== Blah - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    ==Please don’t rub it in that I went easy on the guy who ensures I continue to have this job.==

    Tom Homer already announced he is retiring. He has no reason to go lightly on Madigan.====

    Guess that means you gotta go back to the first one.


  17. - A guy... - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 3:33 pm:

    === Walker - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 10:37 am:

    Langhorne: Agree.

    We should hold those in government to higher standards than those in general society.===

    Given how public government is these days…I think we do.


  18. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 4:52 pm:

    Somebody is always going to be unhappy when the outcome doesn’t match the outcome they already have in their head. I don’t necessarily like the way the Speaker does things sometimes but I have no reason to question the IG’s findings.


  19. - Bobo - Thursday, Apr 10, 14 @ 6:44 pm:

    It is completely unacceptable to have someone connected to the (and dependent on)the General Assembly investigate it’s Speaker. An investigation of this magnitude needs to be beyond reproach.

    I would suggest the Attorney General lead the investigation.


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