[Bumped up for visibility and comments opened for discussion.]
* Keep in mind that this search was done around the same time the feds raided Kevin Quinn’s house. From what I’ve gathered so far, other folks received knocks on their doors in May. Here are some excerpts, but go read the entire WBEZ story…
Federal agents recently executed a search warrant on the Southwest Side home of retired Chicago Ald. Michael Zalewski, and sources familiar with the investigation say they were seeking records regarding the alderman’s longtime political ally, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. […]
Part of the probe centers on efforts to get work for Zalewski at ComEd and the interactions between Madigan, Zalewski and longtime ComEd lobbyist and Madigan confidant Michael McClain, according to three sources familiar with the federal investigation. The three sources declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about the investigation. […]
The younger Zalewski’s wife, Carrie, was appointed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in April to head the Illinois Commerce Commission — which is ComEd’s chief regulator. […]
Contacted by phone at his Quincy home, McClain declined to discuss the federal investigation but expressed confusion about what the agents might be investigating.
“There’s nothing against the law about asking for a job,” he said.
* ComEd statement…
Exelon and ComEd have received a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Illinois requiring production of information concerning its lobbying activities in the State of Illinois. Exelon and ComEd have pledged to cooperate fully and are cooperating fully with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in expeditiously providing the requested information.
Those two companies have a huge Statehouse presence. They employ a ton of lobbyists connected to all four caucuses, but Speaker Madigan does have a whole lot of his people on contract over there, as the WBEZ story points out.
* Meanwhile, here’s the Sun-Times…
Former Ald. Michael Zalewski (23rd) has hired one of the city’s leading criminal defense law firms, the first confirmation he is caught up in the sweeping federal investigation of the City Council.
Newly-disclosed campaign finance reports show Zalewski paid $25,000 in May to Breen & Pugh, whose name partners Thomas Breen and Todd Pugh are considered among the city’s go-to lawyers for politicos in trouble.
Some of their recent clients have included former Donald Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos, sentenced to 14 days in prison for lying to the FBI in the Russia investigation; former Mayor Richard M. Daley nephew R.J. Vanecko, sentenced to 60 days in jail for the death of David Koschman; Chicago police officer Joseph Walsh, acquitted of conspiring to falsify reports in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald; and Cook County Judge Joseph Claps, acquitted of bringing a gun into the courthouse. […]
Zalewski resigned his aldermanic seat in May 2018, in partial recognition of the overwhelming Hispanic majority in the 23rd Ward that would have made re-election difficult. He was replaced by state Rep. Silvana Tabares, an ally of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
From what I’ve heard, the G is/was interested in that replacement process. Zalewski did have plenty of other reasons for getting out of the city council, including the Latinx composition of his ward and his maxed-out pension.
Public records indicate Zalewski, who was making more than $114,000 a year as an alderman, has been having money problems recently. The IRS filed two liens totaling $185,634 against Zalewski for unpaid taxes in the past two years, records show. The most recent, filed in March, was for $99,770. The IRS last November filed a lien for $85,864.
It wasn’t the first time Zalewski had faced financial difficulties. In 2001, he and his wife, Mildred, filed for bankruptcy, which they emerged from a year later.
* This may or may not be related, but you may recall that a formal request for a federal investigation of Madigan’s political operation was made by the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners back in December. To my eyes back then, it looked like a case could be made for suborning perjury. And once these federal investigations start, they can go pretty much anywhere.
* One more bit that may or may not be related…
Madigan spokesman Steve Brown told Chicago City Wire that what McKay wrote about Quinn still being paid by the Madigan “simply isn’t true.”
“His salary ended when he was terminated,” Brown said.
His official salary did end, but that wasn’t the allegation.