First big (and still unanswered) Q: Who are “Associate A” or “Lobbyist B” involved in the federal case that’s hanging over state Sen. Martin Sandoval? Lawmakers want to know because they might have business with the secret sources. And lobbyists want to know because they probably share clients.
Um, there is no “Associate A” listed in the Sandoval search warrant. But, yeah, lots of people are definitely wondering about this line in the warrant…
2. Items related to CW1, Lobbyist A, and/or Lobbyist B.
Please, do not try guessing their identities in comments. I have enough to do without deleting comments and banning people.
* Four unnamed Exelon officials are also listed in the search warrant. Joe Cahill takes a look at the impact of the investigation on the company…
The investigations expose the underside of Exelon’s strategy: To win the Springfield game, you have to play by Springfield rules. And Springfield rules require more than the generous campaign contributions Exelon reliably hands out. Companies seeking the big favors Exelon has sought from lawmakers need stronger bonds with House Speaker Madigan and underbosses like Sandoval. That means hiring relatives, doling out lobbying work to favored operatives and generally greasing the wheels of Madigan’s machine.
A company can get pretty greasy playing that game—not a good look when the feds are hunting down corruption. The probes already have rattled Exelon’s executive ranks. Anne Pramaggiore, head of Exelon’s regulated utilities business and a direct subordinate of CEO Chris Crane, left abruptly on Tuesday. Two weeks earlier, top ComEd lobbyist Fidel Marquez exited suddenly.
Exelon and ComEd won’t say if either departure is related to the probe. But Exelon directors set up a special committee of independent board members to oversee responses to investigators.
Pramaggiore’s move spooked investors, who sent Exelon shares down more than 4 percent on the news. They’re right to worry. Along with potential legal jeopardy, there’s also a strategic dimension to Exelon’s predicament.
Exelon’s stock price is up a tiny bit today, but the trend is not its friend here.
* I suppose when you’re hunkered down during an active federal investigation, filing state campaign disclosure reports becomes a secondary priority. That or (just speculation here) he no longer has his records…
Already under the federal microscope, McCook Mayor Jeffrey Tobolski is now facing a $200 fine for failing to file a legally required campaign disclosure report.
That number could grow by $200 every day that the report is late, with a maximum fine amount of $5,000.
The quarterly report, covering money raised and spent from July 1 through Sept. 30, was due by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, and fines started to be assessed at midnight the next day, said Matt Dietrich, spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Elections.
This isn’t Tobolski’s first time missing a disclosure deadline, which is why the fine is that high. For a committee’s first violation, it’s $50 a day, $100 for the second, and $200 for the third.
* And we talked about this a little the other day…
Mike Madigan’s troubles a boon to lawyers — legal bills exceed $1.5 millionHouse Speaker Mike Madigan dipped into his campaign funds for more than $418,597 in legal fees over the past three months, bringing the total he has spent on lawyers since last year to more than $1.5 million.
The Southwest Side Democrat’s legal headaches heated up in February 2018 amid allegations made by political consultant Alaina Hampton that one of Madigan’s longtime political aides sent her barrages of unwanted texts.
And Madigan’s situation only worsened.
Since then, the longest serving statehouse speaker in the country has endured two federal lawsuits, the exodus of his former chief of staff and a key legislative ally amid harassment allegations, and a federal court affidavit first obtained by the Sun-Times in January revealed Madigan had been secretly recorded during a 2014 meeting with then-Ald. Danny Solis (25th) and a developer who wanted to build a hotel in Chinatown.
More than $1.1 million went to Hinshaw & Culbertson.
* And the Senate Democrats flatly denied this claim the other day…
Senate President John Cullerton repeatedly said that he wanted to make an “informed” decision about state Sen. Martin Sandoval’s leadership role before Sandoval resigned as chairman of the Illinois Senate Transportation Committee. […]
Cullerton had a lot more information than most Illinoisans, but declined to publicly sanction Sandoval in any way. In fact, Cullerton and Senate Democrats went to some length to keep information about the search warrant hidden. Senate Democrats initially released a redacted copy of the warrant. Later, after WBEZ filed a lawsuit to obtain the full warrant, Senate Democrats released the unredacted copy. It was only after that search warrant was released on Oct. 11 that Sandoval submitted a letter of resignation as chairman.
Put another way, Cullerton had a lot of information about what federal agents were looking for and did nothing. After the federal raid on Sept. 24, Cullerton played dumb.
From the Senate Democrats…
The Senate President was never shown the unredacted warrant or inventory. The FOIA officer handled those documents, and only the FOIA officer.
You may ask why? This is a firewall set up for instances like ongoing investigations.
It doesn’t appear the columnist checked in to see if what he was alleging had any basis in fact.
* Editorial: No patience for problems: At the same time, other prominent politicians here have in the past not been as concerned about appearances and pending criminal investigations. Sometimes, they are indifferent to them. Pritzker, obviously, is not, and he’s made it clear that anyone who is compromised for whatever reason will be shunted aside at least until clouds of impropriety have dissipated.
* Chicago dominates competition for most red-light cameras: Chicago currently has 309 red-light cameras in the city, according to data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. At the peak of the program in 2010, there were 394. New York City has 164 cameras. Philadelphia is third, with 30 cameras. Phoenix follows with just 12. To put it in perspective, Gurnee, Illinois, has 15 red-light cameras.