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Howard records subpoenaed after resignation - Burke scholarship records sought - Federal courts reporter named new political reporter

Friday, Jul 27, 2012

* There’s new evidence that the feds are currently interested in retired Chicago Democratic state Rep. Connie Howard

Federal authorities are widening their probe of a newly retired South Side lawmaker with a fresh subpoena seeking records of a scholarship named in her honor and of an Illinois House committee she once chaired.

Democratic Rep. Constance Howard sent in a resignation letter dated July 6. The new subpoena, dated July 18, requested records to or from the “Constance A. ‘Connie’ Howard Technology Scholarship Fund,” including grants or disbursements awarded to that fund.

Prosecutors also called for “notes, minutes of meetings, transcripts of meetings or reports issued by the Computer Technology Committee” for the years 2000 through 2007, which includes a period when Howard chaired the panel. […]

The Tribune obtained the subpoena under an open records request. The House clerk also provided a 2010 subpoena that requested a variety of financial records from Howard’s 34th District. The subpoena sought vouchers, employee time sheets and written and electronic communication for a time period from mid-2006 to mid-2009.

That July 18th subpoena was issued a week after I first reported that she was resigning. The feds don’t often give a heads up when they’re about to subpoena people, so the resignation and the subpoena aren’t yet connected, as a Tribune headline proclaimed the other day.

* Meanwhile, I put this into the subscriber section this week and neglected to post it in the public section, but the feds are taking a closer look at Rep. Dan Burke

College tuition waivers awarded by a member of one of Chicago’s best-known political clans are under criminal investigation by a federal grand jury probing possible abuses in the state’s soon-to-be-dismantled legislative scholarship program.

The grand jury in Chicago subpoenaed State Rep. Dan Burke (D-Chicago), brother of Ald. Ed Burke (14th) and brother-in-law to Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, making the veteran House Democrat at least the third known current or former lawmaker whose waivers are being probed by the feds.

The March 21 subpoena, released by the Illinois House in response to an open-records request by the Chicago Sun-Times, seeks “all information” about “Representative Daniel J. Burke’s procedures for the establishment, awarding and operation of the Illinois General Assembly Scholarship.”

The federal government’s request to Burke also seeks records “pertaining to receipt of any funds or gift in connection with the award of the scholarship, including the identity of any person/entity giving any funds or gift, the amount or gift received, and the date received.”

* And this looks like as good a place as any to tell you I’ve just been told that Sun-Times federal courts reporter Natasha Korecki will be the paper’s new political reporter. She’ll replace Abdon Pallasch, who is leaving to work for the Quinn administration.

Chicago federal courts reporters know politics because, obviously, they cover a whole lot of federal corruption investigations/prosecutions/etc. of Illinois politicians.

Korecki also covered politics for the Daily Herald and knows the Statehouse as well. She’s top notch. She’ll do well.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

8 Comments
  1. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 1:36 pm:

    Oh, c’mon, man. Not even one comment yet? How about congratulating Natasha if nothing else?


  2. - Name Withheld - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 1:40 pm:

    Natasha’s coverage of the Blago trials was excellent. An excellent move by the Sun-Times.


  3. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 2:21 pm:

    All the federales say, they could have had her any day, they only let her slip away, out of kindness I suppose.

    Rich, it’s Friday in a stinking hot summer, we’re in the worst economy of our lives and every day is one g-d thing after another. Don’t blame yourself.

    It’s Friday. I’ll have another. Why was that cabbie so mad, anyway?


  4. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 2:27 pm:

    Looks to me like the feds are trying desperately to justify the exist of their Chicago office now that the last of Blago’s friends are walking the plank.


  5. - Lakefront Liberal - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 2:39 pm:

    Okay, just to get the conversation started I’ll take a page from the IL GOP playbook and blame Madigan. If he hadn’t gone all out for Burke in 2010 we would have progressive reformer Rudy Lozano Jr. in office right now instead. And just to further fan the flames I’ll quote a Huff Post article from that time:

    “Regarding Speaker Madigan’s involvement, Burke said, ‘… Speaker Madigan [recommended] that he get involved. I trust and defer to the experts.’ And no one is more expert at Illinois House races than Speaker Madigan.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-ormsby/rudy-lozanos-challenge-to_b_413652.html


  6. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 2:44 pm:

    @LL -

    Thanks LL for reminding us of the GOP chorus:

    1) Mike Madigan is too powerful;

    2) Mike Madigan should fix everything.

    News flash: Madigan is not omnipotent.


  7. - phocion - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 3:23 pm:

    Kudos to Natasha. She’s one of the best - the public needs more in the media like her. I think I may have to subscribe to the Sun-Times now.


  8. - Dirty Red - Friday, Jul 27, 12 @ 3:47 pm:

    Lack of comments should not be taken as an insult to Natasha’s skills. She’ll be superb. Congratulations!

    Rich, why only Howard and Burke? Are the Feds building something? There has even been mention on this blog of GA members with more ILGA Waiver violations than Howard and Burke.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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