* Republican attorney general candidate Erika Harold on WLS AM…
Rauner says he’s investing $4M to chip away at Speaker Madigan’s House majority and $1M to Harold because she’d prosecute Madigan for corruption.
That would be hard to do because she’d be barred by law from convening a grand jury to consider political corruption, but she told Bill Cameron on a recent “Connected to Chicago” program, how she’d get around that.
“There is statutory authority under the current law that enables the attorney general to conduct investigations if any of the inspector generals find evidence of misconduct. I would use that authority and that ability robustly.”
The full audio is here. I asked Harold’s campaign yesterday afternoon for the statutory citation and never heard back.
* But this is from the attorney general’s office…
1) For non-criminal ethics act actions, that’s correct. If an IG wants to bring an action before the EEC (or LEC) we handle those cases. And even if the IG does not want to pursue an action, there are a few very narrow routes where we can still push the case forward. We use that authority robustly and have worked very closely with all of the Executive IGs. But this work requires referrals from the IG or EEC/LEC. The idea of originating/initiating investigations using that authority - separately and independently from the IGs - is incorrect.
2) When an IG has a complaint/is conducting an investigation and believes he or she has identified possible criminal conduct, the ethics law requires a referral to an appropriate prosecutor. The IG can choose to refer to a US Attorney, a State’s Attorney (in the appropriate county) or our office. But if we get that referral, we have to ask the permission of the appropriate State’s Attorney to use his or her grand jury - which means we have to ask permission to handle the case and if the State’s Attorney wants to take it or do it jointly with us, we do not have an option. If the idea is that the ethics law/IG referral process somehow gives us access to a grand jury that we otherwise do not have or expands the criminal law and gives us original/primary criminal jurisdiction that we otherwise do not have, that is incorrect.
*** UPDATE 1 *** From the Harold campaign…
Erika never suggested in her interview with Cameron that the AG has prosecutorial authority under the Ethics Act. Rather, Erika said this to Bill Cameron: “There is statutory authority under the current law that enables the attorney general to conduct investigations if any of the inspector generals find evidence of misconduct…” That authority is found within the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act (linked/copied below), and those are the statutes Erika was referencing in her interview with Cameron. Accordingly, your assertion that AG Madigan “[shot] down” a “prosecution idea” from Erika based on those statutes is incorrect.
One final note, contrary to what anyone else says, Erika has been clear for quite some time that she will not use the office to punish political opponents: “…And by public corruption, I’m not talking about using the office as a way to punish political opponents…”
* And here’s Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti on WTAX today…
REPORTER: Yesterday we’ve been running a story this morning that the governor said he’s given money to Ericka Harold and if she wins, she should prosecute Mike Madigan. What are your thoughts on that? Does that put Ericka Harold, should she win, in kind of an awkward position that the governor says, look I donated to her campaign here and she should prosecute Mike Madigan?
SANGUINETTI: Well, Ericka Harold is a fine young woman in her own power, and I admire her a lot, she is a wonderful attorney and I am sure she is going to be an amazing attorney general. And I know she will have a focus on corruption because Illinois, unfortunately, is popular for that very reason and that’s the whole reason why Bruce Rauner and I signed on. We’re simply tired of being known worldwide as the state that has all the corruption, so I’m very happy that Ericka Harold will focus on that and I know she will be completely independent.
REPORTER: So you agree with the governor there?
SANGUINETTI: Well I agree that we have a corruption problem and the governor is spot on in that regard. You know Michael Madigan has been around since I was three months of age. That’s a lot of time in which to amass power, have people around you and have the sort of clout, the sort of power that he has, and it simply has to stop because we need to look out for all Illinoisans, not just his special interest powers.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Gov. Rauner made good on his pledge to contribute $1 million to Erika Harold’s campaign. Click here for the A-1.