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* Background is here if you need it. From House Speaker Michael Madigan…
Today, I wrote to the Democratic committee members responsible for filling the vacancy in the 3rd Representative District, and asked them to conduct their process without the participation of the 36th Ward. Any process that includes the participation of the 36th Ward – whether by direct vote or by proxy – would call the legitimacy of the appointment into question, and the qualifications of their candidate would be challenged by the full Illinois House of Representatives.
As Speaker of the House, I am asking the committeemen responsible for filling the vacancy in the 3rd Representative District to do so without the participation of the 36th Ward. Any involvement by the 36th Ward – whether a direct vote or a vote by proxy – would cause the candidate’s qualifications to be challenged by the full Illinois House of Representatives.
…Adding… From a House Dem operative…
The Illinois constitution leaves it to each house if there’s a question of qualifications. Article X of the House rules dictates the process. Basically the challenge would be whether the vacancy in office was properly filled. That would lead to a hearing at which questions such as “did any person making an appointment receive anything in exchange for the appointment.”
From Article X…
5. Initiating Qualifications Challenges.
(a) Qualifications challenges may be brought only by a registered voter of the representative district of the representative challenged or by a member of the House.
(b) Qualifications challenges must be brought within 90 days after the day the challenged member takes his or her oath of office as a member of the House, or within 90 days after the day the petitioner first learns of the information on which the challenge is based, whichever occurs later.
(c) A qualifications challenge shall be brought by filing a petition of qualifications challenge with the Clerk, and by serving a copy of the petition on the respondent member of the House. The petition must be accompanied by proof of personal service upon the respondent member and must be verified by affidavit swearing to the truth of the allegations or based upon information and belief. A petition of qualifications challenge shall set forth the grounds on which the respondent member is alleged to be constitutionally unqualified, or on which his or her appointment to the House is claimed to be legally improper, the qualifications of the petitioner to bring the challenge, and a prayer for relief. […]
In conducting inquiries, investigations, and recounts in election contests and qualifications challenges, the committee has the power to send for and compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, papers, ballots, documents, and records by subpoena signed by the Chairperson of the committee as provided by law and subject to Rule 4(c)(9). In conducting proceedings in election contests and qualifications challenges, the Chairperson of the committee and the Chairperson of any subcommittee may administer oaths to witnesses, as provided by law, and for this purpose a subcommittee is deemed to be a committee of the House.
But even if the challenge fails, the House could still vote to expel the member.
…Adding… Governor’s office…
Rep. Arroyo’s effort to influence the choice of his successor is unacceptable, given the charges against him. Any engagement by the current 36th Ward committeeman would taint a successor, and I call on the House of Representatives not to seat the person who is selected if the 36th Ward committeeman participates. The people of Illinois deserve and demand a higher standard of ethics, and I intend to pursue comprehensive ethics reform in Springfield.
*** UPDATE *** This is mainly bluster…
Dear Speaker Madigan:
Today I received your correspondence directing the 3rd Representative District (“District”) Committeepersons to deprive the voters of the 36th Ward a voice in the selection of a new legislator to replace Luis Arroyo in the House of Representatives (“House”). Like all Committeepersons of the District, I agree that Luis Arroyo should not select his own replacement in the House. I strongly disagree with you that the process for filling the vacancy should be done without the consideration, acknowledgment, and accounting of the voters of the 36th Ward.
The District is a supermajority Latino district. I am appalled that you as the Chair of the Illinois Democratic Party and a representative of a supermajority Latino district would suggest an illegal and discriminatory effort to disenfranchise Latino voters.
Any plan, scheme, or effort to exclude the voters of the largest portion of the District runs afoul of the federal Voting Rights Act. If you move forward with a qualification challenge under Article X of the Rules of the House, voters of the District will have no choice but to seek redress in federal court.
As the second-highest weighted vote in the District, I will be forced to sue you officially and personally for intentional discrimination against Latinos.
Committeeperson, 30th Ward
I highly doubt anyone would have standing to sue over the enforcement of a House rule, but whatevs. The committeepersons could refuse to show up for Arroyo’s meeting, but Reboyras has said he fully intends to participate.
Reboyras knew about the Arroyo committeepersons meeeting the day before Arroyo announced it, which has made several folks believe he and Arroyo have a candidate in mind. Stay tuned.
Cook County Democratic Party Chair Toni Preckwinkle on Monday said the party’s executive committee “is not in a position” to take any other action against Arroyo, except to formally ask him to resign as a committeeman. The party doesn’t have legal means to force him out unless he is convicted of a felony.
Preckwinkle also implored the other committeemen and committeewomen in the 3rd District to “lead by example” and pick his replacement without him.
She also had a tip for Arroyo: “I would suggest Arroyo do the right thing and not call into question the selection process,” Preckwinkle said in a statement.
Translation: “Luis, you’re gonna ruin it for the rest of us.”