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House special investigative committee on hold while US Attorney is consulted

Thursday, Sep 10, 2020

* Yesterday

Beleaguered Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan could soon be asked to publicly explain his dealings with ComEd.

At least that’s what Republicans were planning Wednesday on the eve of the first meeting of a special bipartisan legislative panel convened to explore the political and legal minefield.

“We have an admission of facts from Commonwealth Edison to the federal prosecutor’s office that have laid out a series of very concerning occurrences that happened,” state Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, said. “I think that as of right now, those facts are uncontested. We’d invite the speaker to contest those facts if he does not believe that those are accurate.”

A day before the Thursday meeting, Demmer said at a news conference that he and his GOP colleagues on the panel — Deanne Mazzochi of Westmont and Grant Wehrli of Naperville — will seek answers to the “legitimate, good-faith questions being asked” by their peers in the General Assembly and the public as part of the committee investigating any potential wrongdoing by Madigan.

The object is to discern whether Madigan behaved in a manner unbecoming of a legislator and/or behaved in a way that breached the public trust.

* Here’s who the Republicans want to testify

House Speaker Michael Madigan, Michael McClain, Anne Pramaggiore, Fidel Marquez, John Hooker, Jay D. Doherty, Michael R. Zalewski, any individual currently or formerly employed by Commonwealth Edison with knowledge of the matters contained in the Deferred Prosecution Agreement.

I’m thinking none of those named people are gonna speak. The committee could, in theory, subpoena witnesses, but that would require Democratic cooperation and the witnesses can always take the Fifth.

* Anyway, the hearings are on hold until the committee hears back from the US Attorney’s office to see whether it wants them to back off (which is what happened to then-Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s investigation of then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich) or if it’s OK to proceed and under what terms. [ADDING: The US Attorney allowed an FBI special agent to testify at Blagojevich’s impeachment trial under ” sharply limited” terms.]

WBEZ

Lawmakers bristled as they discussed how to proceed after they unanimously agreed to contact the U.S. attorney’s office about how they can conduct their own investigation of Madigan without interfering with the ongoing criminal investigation.

They did not set another hearing date.

Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, sought clarification as to what it is that the committee is investigating considering that the speaker faces no criminal criminal charges himself.

Ronald Safer, a former federal prosecutor who is representing Durkin in the House investigation of Madigan, responded by noting that the deferred prosecution agreement between ComEd and prosecutors itself is evidence of factual wrongdoing, and it warrants investigation of Madigan by the committee.

I’m gonna nitpick a bit here and say the feds have not yet presented any evidence of specific wrongdoing by Madigan himself. Others, yes. Lots.

* Center Square

Republican member, state Rep. Grant Wehrli, R-Naperville, said Madigan has to respond to what was laid out in the deferred prosecution agreement ComEd entered into.

“Here we have statements of fact and if the Speaker doesn’t refute them, I think the logical conclusion can be drawn,” Wehrli said.

Rep. Wehrli is not a big fan of the 5th Amendment…


Wehrli beat the drum on that story for three solid years, but nothing ever came of it.

* To be super clear, I’m not saying that the feds won’t get Madigan. They could very well succeed. And, as I wrote in Crain’s, I’m not sympathetic to the House Democrats’ grumblings about these hearings

So is Madigan right that this is all about politics? […]

But, really, who cares? Madigan isn’t answering questions, so maybe this will help shine a little light on things. And the committee won’t do much except take testimony. The panel is evenly divided between the two parties, and three staunch Madigan loyalists will be there to stop any majority vote to proceed with discipline. The open-minds thing goes both ways.

And if the Republican maneuver and Pritzker’s subsequent comments about how Madigan ought to answer the committee’s questions make House Democrats angry, well, so be it. Only a tiny handful of them have spoken up about Madigan, and even fewer have called on him to resign. That’s their prerogative, but it also means they’ve deliberately chosen this path. You wanted it, you got it, so deal with it.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

20 Comments »
  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    From July 17th on, I’ve made perfectly clear.

    “I *think* Madigan should resign”

    So let’s be crystal clear where I’m at and “to the post”

    Demmer is the living embodiment of the old John Wooden quote;

    “Never mistake activity for achievement”

    To be clearer, in true Demmer fashion, he wants this idea of all this being “done”, but when in actuality… deferring to the USA is just and prudent, and frankly directly in step with the politics at play here too.

    This is a time for serious people to do serious things, Demmer isn’t that person… and neither is Wehrli, all comedy to the self admitted “ineffective” legislator that is Wehrli.

    I look around and see Woodward sucking all the oxygen, even from Biden and Trump combined. We have unemployed folks worrying, businesses closing, folks losing their apartments and homes… and if you listen to Demmer and Wehrli, you’d think a hearing on MJM is arguably the most important justice “thingy” needing the necessary coverage.

    Oh, that’s right… the ILGOP complained… whined… “where is the MJM coverage?”

    LOL

    Never mistake… activity… for achievement.

    This hearing, is probably 5th in the news drops, even for Illinois… so, when they reconvene in, say, November, Wehrli could be a lame duck, Demmer could be in leadership of a smaller caucus, and Fire Madigan could get a payoff after the party formerly known as the GOP at its lowest existence, and the Eastern Bloc dictating at their choosing to reduce the Raunerites to smaller and lesser power… daily.

    Do I *think* Madigan should resign? Yep.

    Do I think pretending the Raunerites are doing anything of substance and Demmer and Wehrli are heroes? In a farce, yeah.

    Good luck.


  2. - Powdered Whig - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    The Republicans are playing a game of bait and switch. The deferred prosecution agreement stated that ComEd took certain actions with the intent to bribe - nothing in that agreement shows that the Speaker did anything with the intention of influencing the passage of certain legislation benefiting ComEd. If they had such evidence, he would already be charged like they did for Ed Burke.

    In the absence of evidence that the Speaker influenced legislation because ComEd gave lobbying gigs and jobs to those the Speaker recommended, there is nothing there. There is nothing illegal about an elected official making recommendations for jobs. I am sure the other three legislative leaders are well aware of that as they have done the same thing. This is nothing more than political posturing before an election.


  3. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 2:22 pm:

    “(which is what happened to then-Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s investigation of then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich)” … then-US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office “told” Blago’s people not to release a subpoena which had been FOIA’d under State Law. The 4th Illinois Appellate Circuit issued a ruling it had to be released … written by the brother of someone Blago’s patronage machine fired … and no one said a thing.


  4. - This Just In - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 2:29 pm:

    Willy - while your disdain for Demmer is consistent, it continues to be with much more fervor than you have for calling our Durkin. Durkin was the facilitator-in-chief for the Rauner years, Demmer’s superior, and still the guy that Demmer is carrying water for to this date.

    Why not start and stay at the top for this type of unrelenting diatribe?

    For the record . . . . .Durkin and Demmer are both exponentially preferable to the Eastern Bloc idiots. Not a close call.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 2:33 pm:

    (Sigh)

    === From July 17th on, I’ve made perfectly clear.

    “I *think* Madigan should resign”

    So let’s be crystal clear where I’m at===

    Please add to the post, - Elliot Ness -


  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 2:38 pm:

    === washed up WOODWARD===

    … is owning the news cycle, and Trump stated not only was it him on the tape, he stated he sticks by his remarks.

    Also? Also, the ILGOP has complained of a lack of coverage, not me, and looking at the coverage today, it’s not gonna breat the top 4 stories.

    Getting duped by a president who admits he downplayed a global pandemic purposely won’t be easy to top…


  7. - Frank talks - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    Why isn’t anyone listening to me? This is important please. Pretty please with a cherry on top…….Darn it it’s not fair it’s not fair.
    How come the press isn’t making my argument the number one story?

    I’m guessing John Lausch isn’t going to want many of those folks going to a House committee and ruin his actual business of prosecutions. Fidel is cooperating so that’s a no. All others are at an obvious stage of some sort in the investigation.


  8. - confused - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 2:43 pm:

    == “Here we have statements of fact and if the Speaker doesn’t refute them, I think the logical conclusion can be drawn,” Wehrli said. ==

    I’m trying to figure out if I’m dumb or if the Republicans are dumb/playing games. The Republicans want Madigan to answer whether the statements of facts are true or not. How is he supposed to know that, or even respond to that, when the statement of facts in the DPA relates to actions taken by others, not Madigan himself?

    Republicans haven’t pointed to any actions taken by Madigan, but the charge claims he acted unbecoming. How do you prove that without any actions? Unless the action is recommending people for jobs.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 2:46 pm:

    === Demmer’s superior, and still the guy that Demmer is carrying water for to this date.===

    LOL

    Demmer *is* the John Wooden quote, personified.

    Never has someone *tried* to look so overwhelmingly busy while simultaneously getting little to show for all the wheels spinning… in place.

    ‘Nember Demmer complaining about cocktail parties… then we come to find out Demmer is so busy… he went to the same cocktail parties too.

    Durkin? The thing about carrying water and Durkin, and Demmer, it’s Durkin seemingly needing to step in, like here, to do “something”… and Demmer seemingly with Wehrli whirling about to make some noise to… something,

    How this all fits in to my (checks notes) diatribe?

    What was accomplished today? Lots of activity, sure…

    Witnesses? Nope

    Evidence? Not that either.

    Press release? Sure.

    But really, with a global pandemic, unemployment, businesses closing, college outbreaks, remote K-12 learning… the “activity” today didn’t change anything and “achieved” a pause until the USA.

    So, overall… I made my case.


  10. - Leigh John-Ella - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 2:50 pm:

    Asking the US Attorney for permission to continue this taxpayer-funded GOP campaign stunt for Wehrli is hilarious.


  11. - Publius - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    I don’t think we will know the answer until we find the shoeboxes. Maybe Wehrli should be checking every hotel in Springfield.
    https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2013-02-24-ct-per-flash-paul-powell-0224-20130224-story.html


  12. - This Just In - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 3:16 pm:

    =Willy=

    It would have simply been easier to say: “I like Durkin and forgive him of the identical sins that I excoriate Demmer for - because I don’t like him”

    At least own it.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 3:20 pm:

    Heh.

    === It would have simply been easier to say:===

    “Demmer indeed imbodies the John Wooden quote, but if I make it about Willy hopefully no one will catch on that Demmer is activity and not big on achievement”

    Got it.

    :)


  14. - Frank talks - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 3:28 pm:

    Anyone remember this one about hiring practices?

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.dailyherald.com/amp-article/20180221/news/180229715/


  15. - This Just In - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 3:57 pm:

    =Willy=

    LOL - I will take that as a guilty as charged since you are appear to be obsessed with Demmer.

    It is only about you as it relates to your impossible to miss pattern of behavior. So you like Durkin and dislike Demmer . . . . .OK. It is helpful as it provides context.

    :)


  16. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 4:05 pm:

    === I will take that as a guilty as charged===

    .., that Demmer *is* the Wooden quote personified.

    It’s like you can’t help but ignore that and make it about me.

    Is it that difficult to find Demmer accomplishing … anything… here.

    It’s comical that you can’t provide how Demmer leads, just looking to.., you guessed it… dragging Durkin down to Demmer’s lacking.

    That’s what you’re saying, isn’t it?

    === Durkin was the facilitator-in-chief for the Rauner years, Demmer’s superior, and still the guy that Demmer is carrying water for to this date.===

    Dragging Durkin to Demmer’s lacking?

    “They should be met with the same… “

    So, in reality, you are saying Demmer is truly a bunch activity disguised as accomplishing… something… “but Durkin”

    That’s a sad way to seem thoughtful… make it appear everyone is the Wooden quote… like Demmer.

    But, you do you I guess.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 4:26 pm:

    === You never addressed my underlying premise.===

    The premise is… Demmer is the Wooden quote, personified.

    You don’t like that truth, you want the discussion to be about me, which in of itself is sad, then it was dragging Durkin down to seemingly be the Wooden quote too.

    While your amusement could best be described as a kitten with a ball of string, the underlying premise is, continued to be… Demmer’s lacking, and the Wooden quote.

    To bring it back, today is another clear example of Demmer making activity…

    Witnesses? Nope

    Evidence? Not that either.

    Press release? Sure.

    But really, with a global pandemic, unemployment, businesses closing, college outbreaks, remote K-12 learning… the “activity” today didn’t change anything and “achieved” a pause until the USA.

    … and accomplishing nothing.

    Again.

    You don’t like that.


  18. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 4:39 pm:

    To tie this off?

    If Demmer spent 1/10th of the energy you’re using trying to defend him… Demmer *might* achieve… but, here we are.

    Today is a microcosm, with Wehrli in tow, how being “ineffective” is not only acceptable, it’s worn as a symbol of being in a super-minority, whining to the press for coverage.


  19. - Huh? - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 6:27 pm:

    “until we find the shoeboxes”

    Does anyone really think that Madigan hasn’t learned the political lessons of Illinois and would ever leave any kind of incriminating evidence anywhere?


  20. - MaryLouise - Thursday, Sep 10, 20 @ 11:25 pm:

    What does Ammon’s new purse look like?


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