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*** UPDATED x1 *** Justice Deparment: “Substantial risks” to investigation

Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

* Assistant US Attorney General Peter Kadzik wrote a letter today to the co-chairmen of the Illinois Legislative Audit Commission. Read it here. From the letter…

This confirms our request, during a telephone conversation with you and your staff on July 9, 2014, that the Illinois Legislative Audit Commission refrain from conducting interviews or receiving testimony from any individuals in connection with the State of Illinois program known as the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative for a period of 90 days.

As we explained during the call, there is an ongoing related federal criminal investigation and we believe such interviews and testimony during this time period would pose substantial risks to our investigation. We are not at this time asking the Commission to refrain from disclosure of records gathered in the course of its work.

We appreciate your consideration of this request and your support for our law enforcement efforts.

As you already know, House GOP Leader Jim Durkin and Commission member Rep. Ron Sandack have said they want to proceed regardless of the Department of Justice’s request.

*** UPDATE *** From Leader Durkin’s spokesperson via text…

We believe the Legislative Audit Commission will take this under advisement when they convene on the 16th.

That’s likely the beginning of a major walk-back.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

49 Comments
  1. - The Prince - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 4:46 pm:

    An AUSA wrote a letter. Someone is reading this blog for a real-time understanding of events.


  2. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 4:47 pm:

    Smart move by Rep. Durkin. Forced the Feds to make a formal request in writing.


  3. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 4:47 pm:

    ===Smart move by Rep. Durkin===

    Um, no.


  4. - Mason born - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 4:48 pm:

    Looks like Sandack needs to re-reverse himself. This should be an easy statement to make. Something along the line of “Due to further communication with the U.S. Attorney General and the increased severity of the investigation we are delaying our review for 90 days. It is essential that the CRIMINAL abuse and corruption of this Program (Governor) be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”


  5. - A guy... - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 4:49 pm:

    Hello. I had a feeling they wanted a bigger dog from the pound to bark. They may even push them a little further to show up with a bone. Justahunch.

    Still a boo boo Willie? Your faith in Durkin should be restored.


  6. - The Prince - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 4:50 pm:

    Jim Ryan backed off when the Federales were investigating George Ryan. Didn’t stop Doug Scofield and Blago from criticizing protocol. Lisa Madigan saw that and got a letter from Patrick Fitzgerald telling her to back off. Let’s see where this goes.


  7. - A guy... - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 4:51 pm:

    Would be nice to know if the announcement came before or after the “phone call and subsequent letter”.


  8. - A guy... - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 4:53 pm:

    “there is an ongoing ‘related’ federal criminal investigation”

    Read it again. “Related” is an interesting word.


  9. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 4:56 pm:

    ===Would be nice to know if the announcement came before or after===

    You mean Durkin’s announcement? Between. The letter is hot off the presses.


  10. - The Prince - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:00 pm:

    Take ‘related’ like you would take ‘black tie optional.’ It means you are wearing a tuxedo. It also means “back off.”


  11. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:00 pm:

    ===An AUSA wrote===

    No. An Assistant US Attorney General wrote the letter. Big difference.


  12. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:01 pm:

    ==- A guy… - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 4:53 pm:==

    But is it really?

    Related, adjective: “connected in some way” (1)
    “Being connected; associated.” (2)

    1: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/related
    2: http://www.ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=related&submit.x=0&submit.y=0

    It says they are investigating NRI without saying they are investigating NRI. Remember, Scott Lassar said George Ryan was never a target, but his deputies said after Ryan’s conviction that he was a target all along during Lassar and Fitzgerald’s tenures as USA for the northern region.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:02 pm:

    Stand by my original Comment on the previous post;

    ===“We all know the Quinn Administration is under a federal investigation so intense, we had to back off our own inquiries, and here in October, we are going to find out much more.”===

    Instead of making hay, they are burning down the barn holding the hay.


  14. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:03 pm:

    ===”You go after Quinn, and back off, once to get in the record you wanted hearings. You keep going at it, it makes all the clean posturing that is hammering Quinn… look like a bunch of partisan tricks. It’s the difference between paper politics and real politics…”===

    They just can’t let this fester and bubble and reap the benefits…


  15. - The Prince - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:06 pm:

    I meant an Assistant US as opposed to the previously-discussed lobbying arm.


  16. - The Prince - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:08 pm:

    Unless you are referring to “the” letter as opposed to
    “a” letter which is a difference I can understand completely.


  17. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:13 pm:

    It appears the audit commission has subpoenad somebody/somebodies who’ve already hit the flipper.

    The federales don’t want them screwing it up by potentially saying something to the commission that could possibly be interpreted later down the road to be in conflict with what they’ve said to the grand jury or in an affadavit.

    The commission can go ahead (they could have in February when the audit came out), but I don’t think anyone who has been or could potentially be called before the grand jury would say anything. The risk is too great.

    Haven’t seen anyone wave off Alvarez and her grand jury. Wonder what’s up with that.


  18. - LincolnLounger - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:13 pm:

    Is there any chance that they are proceeding knowing they will get a bunch pleading the 5th? Then Rauner gets his optics for his TV commercial and no damage to the Feds’ case.


  19. - ILPundit - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:31 pm:

    I’m not sure what everyone is arguing about. This is unequivocally horrible political news for Quinn. The GOP could fumble this issue every way possible and not change the fact that this issue could (and probably will) kill Quinn’s chances in November.


  20. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:32 pm:

    ===This is unequivocally horrible political news for Quinn===

    Exactly, so why muddy it up with politics? It was a dumb move.


  21. - Southerner - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:37 pm:

    If they proceed could there be criminal charges of impeding an investigation against committee members? Just wondering.


  22. - ILPundit - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:37 pm:

    Rich, I don’t disagree. My point is that this is a level of bad that they can’t muddy it up, no matter how hard they try.


  23. - Cadillac - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:40 pm:

    == Rich, I don’t disagree. My point is that this is a level of bad that they can’t muddy it up, no matter how hard they try. ==

    I agree. Makes them look like they were on top of things seeing the “smoke” before the “fire”.

    I’ll bet the meeting on the 16th is cancelled posthaste.


  24. - OVERSIGHT - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:46 pm:

    Impeding a federal investigation reminds me of a famous quote…..“Life’s hard. It’s even harder when you’re stupid.”
    ― John Wayne


  25. - CirularFiringSquad - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:48 pm:

    While we understand the Jumpin’ Jason is in the closing weeks of the 2010 Brady campaign, one must ask what has been doing for 5 long months?
    He could have all the witnesses in, grilled, sautéed and ready to send off to DoJ in a to-go container. Instead all we get is stop, start and now he faces being accused of giving the middle finger. Not too smart
    First AB in big time and Jumpin’ whiffs
    Who will save him?
    Fire, Aim, Ready


  26. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:49 pm:

    To the update,

    Leader Durkin, I am still a big fan. How you have gone about your business, it has given me hope.

    I can’t figure out for the life of me all this ridiculous posturing for something so clean, crisp, and pure.

    “We all know the Quinn Administration is under a federal investigation so intense, we had to back off our own inquiries, and here in October, we are going to find out much more.”

    That is what should have been released. You never needed to make it more than it is/was, and the impact of allowing the US Attorney make the argument of overriding is pure gold. Period.

    This is a fail of optics and politics, but luckily because of its substance, will not be fatal. However, the ignorance of the possible backfire gives pause that the Senior Political Operatives are failing at their only job till November; the political.

    This is way beyond the simplistic “never get in the way of your opponent hurting themselves”. Way beyond that simplistic. This is knowing you have US Attorney coverage in the obtuse to drive the narrative, and ignoring that and looking foolish while doing so.

    No reason for today, or anything leading up today that added up the posturing that is going to have to be walked back. Not good.

    I am with you, you know that, but this is a political fail of the obvious play. When you are right, I tell ya, but this time, it wasn’t the best way to go about this.

    Regroup and learn from this. Durkin Crew, sometimes allowing the Principle to hold their powder with super cover is playing offense. It is. Do better at knowing the difference of making points, or missing the point.

    With respect,

    OW


  27. - CirularFiringSquad - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:53 pm:

    Mr/Ms OW
    Durkie is really the last guy who ought to thumb his nose at DoJ…but maybe he is feeling lucky and believes a Paul Administration AG won’t remember.


  28. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:53 pm:

    ==- Cadillac - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:40 pm:==

    I disagree. Just this morning Barickman was belittling the Justice Department phone call. It makes it look like the GOP is putting on a witchhunt instead of a legitimate investigation and big boys smacked down their nonsense. They talked big and have to walk it back after being asked for a second time to back off. Undoubtedly this hurts Quinn, but that doesn’t make it necessarily a plus for the GOP’s image.


  29. - WWMJMD - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:56 pm:

    If the tables were turned, what would Madigan do? I don’t think he would have gone down this road. He would not symbolically slap a prosecutor in the face or impede a federal investigation. This is starting to look foolish, and Madigan wouldn’t make a mockery of the general assembly.


  30. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:57 pm:

    –Hello. I had a feeling they wanted a bigger dog from the pound to bark–

    –This confirms our request, during a telephone conversation with you and your staff on July 9, 2014–

    The dude writing the letter is the same guy they spoke with.


  31. - Cadillac - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 6:21 pm:

    - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:53 pm:

    I see your point, but I also see his point. A hearing with subpoenas has been voted for and scheduled through bipartisan efforts. The agenda of the meeting should be addressed by again going through the proper process. I think they should call a special meeting and shut the whole thing down. If he were to just singularly “Call Everything Off!” without going through the proper channels, he could be ridiculed just the same.


  32. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 6:26 pm:

    - CFS -, if this isn’t walked back, correctly, in any manner, it will be difficult to forget.


  33. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 7:16 pm:

    Cadillac:

    BS.

    Legislative hearings can be cancelled without all of this rigamaroll.

    The reason for not canceling the hearing outright is the same reason that Durkin and Sandack wanted to go through with the hearing anyways: The Perp Walk.

    The Perp Walk is guaranteed front page stuff, WGN lead news.

    Even without compelling all of the witnesses to testify and getting your priceless 5th Amendment footage, you are still compelling them to attend. Only now, the lead is the US attorney investigation trumping.

    There is absolutely nothing of policy substance these Keystone Kops are gonna discover that somehow the Auditor General missed.

    Purely political theatre.


  34. - Just The Way It Is One - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 11:07 pm:

    I would imagine that it’s not unlikely that the Commission’s interviews and public recept of testimony will likely be held off on until AFter the November Elections now.

    The Justice Department may very well likely need beyond a mere 90 day period (a rather short period on the whole when you think about it for a Federal inquiry of this nature) before it’s comfortable with letting the Commission publicly jump into the matter…in which case the impact on the Election, if we were to assume it was still left unresolved by then, may actually become somewhat negligible because under that scenario Rauner wouldn’t be able to state precise findings and facts leading to any direct trouble for Pat Quinn himself, but at the worst, rather at that point, perhaps alleging the possibility of wrongdoing alleged by a few people DIRECTLY involved with actually implementing the Program when certain things may have gone awry…

    The Sum Total of all of this politically in the Gubernatorial Race under those circumstances could very well end up negligible, therefore, with a slight edge electorally, naturally, toward assisting BR’s cause, just based on the allegations/inquiry alone, BUT would not at all, alone, necessarily cause Pat Quinn the Election as the Guv has PLENTY to harp about as to Rauner’s well-documented and growing list of shortcomings and deficiencies (including NUmerous, hot potato lawsuits which make BR look at least as bad and arguably even worse in some respects)…!


  35. - Arizona Bob - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 11:38 pm:

    This is certainly a different deal than was previously reported regarding the DOJ Legislative committee request.

    I believe the GA has to back off with this request, but this request seems inappropriate and ill advised.

    The hearings, with testimony under oath, could bring things to light that perhaps an investigation by the FBI could not, and add the threat of perjury to any of the principles trying to lie their way out of the problem.

    It would be interesting to know if the Feds are taking depositions at this time, and perhaps arranging plea bargains. If they are this makes sense. If the US attorney comes up empty here, it certainly won’t look good for him.


  36. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 12:04 am:

    ===The hearings, with testimony under oath, could bring things to light===

    LOL

    Do you really think anybody would actually testify?

    This is all about the horrific TV optics of seven witnesses taking the 5th. C’mon. Be real.


  37. - Letter to Rod - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 12:49 am:

    Rod
    I am not saying I will need it, but there is a chance. Do you think we could be cell mates and I could get a respectable job, if I need it. The Feds are now worried about the $54 million and my anti violence campaign. Rod you know I would never do anything against the law. I was your Lt. Governor and look how they railroaded you. Pat


  38. - Arizona Bob - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 7:28 am:

    @Rich
    =This is all about the horrific TV optics of seven witnesses taking the 5th. C’mon. Be real.=

    While I agree that all the use (abuse?) of taking the fifth will be embarassing to the adminstration, I suspect that at least of a few of the witnesses will not answer with the fifth.

    IIRC, you can’t pick and choose which questions you don’t want to answer by using the fifth. If you answer one question, you have to answer them all.

    If what you say is true about EVERYONE taking the fifth, why would the US attorney care if the hearings go on? It’s a catch 22; if no information will be given in the hearings, you don’t need to stop them, if some WILL testify, you have additional facts to work with under oath.

    Seems both ends serve the means of the US attorney. Why stop it?


  39. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 7:51 am:

    ===I suspect that at least of a few of the witnesses will not answer with the fifth.===

    Yeah, if they have no attorneys the will. Not one of them will say one word if they have any brains.

    This is all about the embarrassment, not about fact finding.

    ===IIRC, you can’t pick and choose which questions you don’t want to answer by using the fifth. If you answer one question, you have to answer them all.===

    Again, questions will not be answered. You have the “G” in your rear view mirror, you clam up.

    ===Seems both ends serve the means of the US attorney. Why stop it?===

    Here is the rub, and why I am not in favor of this grandstanding;

    The US Attorney, and now it appears an Assistant US Attorney General has ask…

    === …we believe such interviews and testimony during this time period would pose substantial risks to our investigation. We are not at this time asking the Commission to refrain from disclosure of records gathered in the course of its work.===

    You want to go against the advice of an AUS Attorney General for a TV spectacle? Nope.

    It’s beyond damaging that they “can’t” have them;

    “We are beyond frustrated that we have decided to not have hearings, but the US Attorney, and an Assistant Attorney General have made it clear that hearing would be a substantial risk to the investigation. We do not want to hamper a criminal investigation done by those in the highest levels of our justice system…”

    The ambiguity makes it just as damaging, maybe more, by why they are asked to stop because it may hamper the investigation, less the images. Powerful.

    You stomp your feet, whine, but always end with, “…but, when the US Attorney and an Assistant AG feel there is substantial risk to a real criminal investigation of the Quinn Administration…”

    All true. Criminal. Hamper. Asked .

    Let it hang out there on that. Use that. The rest looks beyond partisan and could backfire as a witch hunt, more concerned about political optics than finding truth for the people.

    I totally “get” and understand all the “whys” and “whats” but the hammer given by the “ask” of backing off is a non-partisan, clean, crisp, and pure hammer, with no partisan feel or optic to it.

    That is the fail.


  40. - Mason born - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 8:12 am:

    I am curious about the 90 day thing. Anyone know is that typical? I would have expected something more along the lines of hold off until we can conclude our investigation.


  41. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 8:30 am:

    –The hearings, with testimony under oath, could bring things to light that perhaps an investigation by the FBI could not, and add the threat of perjury to any of the principles trying to lie their way out of the problem.–

    AB, your understanding of civics is whack.

    What do you think the Legislative Audit Commission is, some kind of Super Star Chamber? They have the “power” to review audits, ask questions and make recommendations to the GA. That’s it.

    You think the commission has more juice than the FBI and a federal grand jury? That’s extraordinary.

    Is there some kind of crime you’re aware of about giving false testimony to the Legislative Audit Commission? Double-secret Probation, maybe?

    If you lie to the FBI under simple questioning, oath or no oath, you can be charged with a felony.

    I’m quite certain the commission doesn’t have the power to charge anyone with perjury or anything else.


  42. - walker - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 8:36 am:

    This never was the “DOJ legislative commitee” or “the political arm”. It was a call from the same guy who wrote the letter plus another lawyer and a legislative relations intern listening in per protocol. That was selective reading and biased labeling.


  43. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 8:45 am:

    ===I suspect that at least of a few of the witnesses will not answer with the fifth.===

    LOL


  44. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 9:02 am:

    Some people here need to turn off the talk radio and cable yakfests. It’s warping their brains.

    There is a federal criminal investigation into this matter. The feds are highly selective in their targets and they like to win above all else. They bat over .900 in court.

    If the goal here was to protect the Quinn campaign, the feds would have just passed without explanation. The whole idea that federal officials at the highest level would engage in some mass criminal conspiracy to make life easier for Pat Quinn is just beyond crazy.

    The wheels are in motion and nothing can stop them. Someone is going to go down for something.


  45. - Nothing Will Be Learned - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 9:41 am:

    the GA can administer oaths. Lying under that oath is perjury. To suggest that perjury can’t exist in the context of the hearing is “whack”


  46. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 10:07 am:

    ===the GA can administer oaths. Lying under that oath is perjury. To suggest that perjury can’t exist in the context of the hearing is “whack”===

    The perjury those testifying fear is the FBI or Federal charges, thus the 5th Amendment expectations.

    That is the rub.


  47. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 10:11 am:

    Nothing, show me in the criminal code and tell me who brings charges and prosecutes. Also, ever seen it done?


  48. - Nothing Will Be Learned - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    the state’s attorney would bring charges in the county where it happened. Not sure I’ve seen it done. There aren’t all that many times when witnesses are sworn in the general assembly hearings. But that’s the whole purpose to sworn testimony. To create an impediment to lying. If there was no threat of perjury, than the person could lie with impunity.


  49. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 11, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    LOL, ever sat in a courtroom? The whole point of trials is to figure out the truth amidst all the lies. Perjury is the least prosecuted crime in America.

    The audit commission isn’t a heavy hitter, not compared to the FBI and grand jury, which was the original point.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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