* Background is here if you need it. There had been an agreement to hammer out a letter to US Attorney Lausch between the two parties on the special investigative committee. That is no longer operative. Press release…
State Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, chair of the House Special Investigating Committee, released the following statement Wednesday:
“Today, in my capacity as chair of the Special Investigating Committee, I sent a letter to U.S. Attorney John Lausch memorializing the contents of our conversation Monday. In particular, my letter reflects our understanding that while the U.S. Attorney’s Office had no objection to witnesses being invited to voluntarily testify as part of the committee’s work, they would object to witnesses disclosing material information or documents related to their federal investigation or grand jury deliberations – specifically information underlying the government’s deferred prosecution agreement with Commonwealth Edison. Leader Durkin’s petition which initiated this committee is inextricably linked to the deferred prosecution agreement.
“My letter followed through on a commitment Representative Demmer and I made to U.S. Attorney Lausch in our conversation. But it’s clear that the Republicans did not get the answers they wanted from U.S. Attorney Lausch and are now attempting to reinterpret the details to fit their political strategy. I sent this letter myself on behalf of the committee when it became clear that Republicans would continue down a path of using this committee as a political stunt. The role of this committee is clear, we are to investigate the charge laid out in the petition filed by Leader Durkin. Their refusal to sign onto a straightforward and factual letter is another attempt to make a serious process political.
“While it’s now clear that my Republican colleagues see this committee solely as a vehicle for partisan gamesmanship, I will not allow the work of this committee to inappropriately interfere with the work of the U.S. attorney, and I will not allow it to be manipulated for petty political gain.”
* The letter…
Dear Mr. Lausch:
As we discussed over the phone, the Illinois House of Representatives has convened a Special Investigating Committee (the “SIC”) pursuant to House Rule 91. At its first meeting, the SIC unanimously concluded that its first course of action would be to communicate with your office. SIC members have made clear their need to obtain as much information as possible but doing so without impeding your ongoing investigation(s).
This letter memorializes our phone call with your Office on September 14, 2020, during which we sought guidance from you as to whether an investigation by this Committee into Speaker Michael J. Madigan’s actions based on the contents of the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“DPA”) entered into by Commonwealth Edison Company (“ComEd”) and your Office would impede any of your ongoing investigations or prosecutions.
The charge is that Speaker Madigan engaged in conduct unbecoming to a legislator or which constitutes breach of public trust, as detailed in the DPA, including engaging in a bribery scheme, an extortion scheme, conspiracy to violate federal and state laws, among other misconduct and misuse of office. The charge against Speaker Madigan relates solely to conduct detailed in the Deferred Prosecution Agreement, thus the Committee needs to review the facts and circumstances included in the Agreement.
The following summarize our understanding of the key takeaways for the SIC from the call with your Office on Monday, September 14, 2020:
* Your office has no objection to requesting certain identified witnesses voluntarily testify or produce documents. However, it was stipulated there would be an objection to any witness disclosing material information or documents related to the federal investigation or grand jury deliberations. Thus, your office would object to the Committee requesting testimony or documents provided to your office in connection with your investigation.
* Your office would object to requests for documents, information, or testimony from your office, as well as other federal agencies, regarding the facts and circumstances underlying the DPA. This includes confirmation of the names of individuals or entities who are identified only by descriptive titles in the DPA and its attachments.
* Your office requested that the Committee consult with your office prior to seeking testimony or documents from any individuals, other than those that have been identified.
The SIC is seeking a formal response from your office clarifying our discussion. We are cognizant of the sensitivity of ongoing criminal investigations and do not want to adversely affect them. Please let us know if any of the information we might seek or actions we may take would constitute interference with your investigation.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to hearing from you. You may send any response by email to our counsel, Margaret Livingston, and you may direct any questions to her as well.
Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch,
Chair Special Investigating Committee II
Illinois House of Representatives
101st General Assembly
Oh, man. It’s gonna hit the fan now.
*** UPDATE 1 *** “Obviously, we will be sending our own letter,” said House Republican spokesperson Eleni Demertzis in response.
Demertzis said the House Republican members of the committee sent a draft to Rep. Welch yesterday. “Late this morning we got a response that completely ignored our draft,” she claimed. The Republican members responded quickly with more revisions and, she said, at about 4:15 this afternoon the GOP spokesperson of the special committee, Rep. Tom Demmer, was essentially given a “take it or leave it, we’re sending our draft” demand by Welch.
So, the US Attorney will be in receipt of two letters. The next move will be up to him.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Joe Hackler at the ILGOP…
At this point, Rep. Welch is performing as a human shield for his mentor, Mike Madigan. It’s sad and pathetic. Welch should be trying to get those answers instead of doing everything in his power to protect Madigan. If Governor Pritzker and members of the House Democratic caucus who said they wanted answers are actually serious, they would speak up now and stop these antics.
Welch says he took copious notes and stands by his interpretation of what Lausch said. Others also took notes. I guess we’ll all see when Lausch responds.