Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x2 *** Chairman Welch sends own letter to US Attorney Lausch, claims Republicans want to use the investigative committee “as a political stunt”
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*** UPDATED x2 *** Chairman Welch sends own letter to US Attorney Lausch, claims Republicans want to use the investigative committee “as a political stunt”

Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - TaxTheMemes - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 4:58 pm:

    ComEd with its newest product: natural gaslighting

  2. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 5:07 pm:

    ===It’s gonna hit the fan now.===

    Send lawyers, guns and money.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 5:10 pm:

    === The next move will be up to him.===

    One of these two (Welch, Demmer) will look silly after this.

    Clarification only muddies one side’s attempt to stave the political.

  4. - Flat Bed Ford - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 5:24 pm:

    “You’re mucking with the G here pal…”

    Oh, man. Welch is either dead right or it’s gonna get real “interesting” for him.

  5. - Ok - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 5:26 pm:

    Speaker Welch was ready for the political fight.

  6. - Nagidam - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 5:26 pm:

    ===One of these two (Welch, Demmer) will look silly after this.===

    Has the smell of coverup so I got my penny on Demmer and HGOP being in the right.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 5:27 pm:

    === At this point,===

    If the USA sides with Welch…

    Going all in here is risky, let’s see if it pays off.

    Wehrli needs all the help he can get.

  8. - Ok - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 5:32 pm:

    A cover up? This investigative committee never was intended to be any investigation. It was intended to get pictures and video of people taking the oath and saying they couldn’t answer. Speaker Welch is ready for that. ILGOP doesn’t really know their next step. So, now it is an argument over letters. Primetime TV it is not.

  9. - Gooner - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 5:33 pm:

    Illinois Republicans’ response to anything is:

    [Subject][Verb] Mike Madigan.

    At some point, they need to admit that they have no ideas at all. Their comments are so rarely substantive that there really is no reason to pay attention to them at all.

  10. - Curious George - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 5:50 pm:

    Move on , nothing to see here or is there ?

  11. - ILPundit - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 5:54 pm:

    Everyone who thinks Welch has the upper hand here doesn’t seem to know who the Attorney General of the United States is.

  12. - Lincoln Lad - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 6:57 pm:

    Barr going to weigh in on this (behind the scenes)?

  13. - Pundent - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 7:13 pm:

    My take of Welch’s letter is that he’s saying that Lausch advised that they could hold whatever committee meetings they want but don’t compromise our investigation. And soliciting testimony and requesting documents would compromise the investigation. So a Special Investigating Committee where the underlying testimony and documents needed to render a determination can’t be shared isn’t really engaged in an investigation, it’s a stunt. But I suppose from the Republicans point of view they don’t really need testimony or documents. They already know Madigan is guilty of something.

  14. - Legalese - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 7:24 pm:

    The three points in the letter above are relatively consistent with practices and procedures used by the federal government. If there is an active investigation or grand jury they will not want people sharing information publicly.

  15. - walker - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 7:41 pm:

    The call for a hearing, two conflicting letters of clarification, and a justification of one of the letters— all are premature to responsible fact finding, and equally political stunts. No way would any of it occur right now if voting didn’t start next month.

  16. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 7:43 pm:

    Who to trust on legal matters? The lawyer or the hospital man (who drafts and votes on hospital legislation)?

  17. - Blue Dog Dem - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 8:05 pm:

    “…as a political stunt”….where have I heard this before.

  18. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 9:24 pm:

    Come on guys, get real Lausch isn’t going to side with anyone. Why would want anything to do with this show?

  19. - Socially DIstant Watcher - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 9:40 pm:

    ==Everyone who thinks Welch has the upper hand here doesn’t seem to know who the Attorney General of the United States is. ==

    The US Attorney is someone who would love to nail MJM himself, and he won’t want any penny ante legislative committee mucking that up. If he thought he wouldn’t be the US Attorney after the election, he might let the HGOP have their fun, but if he thinks there’s legs to this beyond the election, he’ll want to protect any case the feds have.

  20. - WC Fields - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 9:55 pm:

    I don’t see the motivation for Welch to sink this inquiry illegitimately. The SIC is a net plus for MM - an opportunity to impact narrative and to prepare for his criminal defense. Assuming Madigan has something on Welch, either evidence of criminal activity or importance to his political/financial future, Welch isn’t worse off as to either if he continues the SIC. Welch, like Pritzker, thinks it’s a better play to take cover.

  21. - Eire17 - Thursday, Sep 17, 20 @ 4:16 am:

    The fed may say on second thought—since no can even agree on what I said—not worth it. Shut it down.

  22. - Elliott Ness - Thursday, Sep 17, 20 @ 8:16 am:

    Plain and simple, Welch is following orders, he would not be the chairman (chosen by the person accused) if he would not agree to follow orders. Talk about political? The old trick is to accuse the other side of doing what YOU, in fact, are doing. Madigan is concerned that there was even a hint of allowing some witnesses to testify who have direct knowledge of the accusations. When Blago was being investigated, Madigan did the same thing and protected fellow Dems from being exposed by going along with this tactic of shielding witnesses. Let’s hear the truth for once and show this guy for what he is.

  23. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 17, 20 @ 8:20 am:

    === Plain and simple, Welch is following orders, he would not be the chairman (chosen by the person accused) if he would not agree to follow orders.===

    Plain and simple, your tin foil hat is too tight this morning. Your obsessive need to seem thoughtful to process would be comical if you didn’t believe it by making stuff up.

    Like this;

    === When Blago was being investigated, Madigan did the same thing and protected fellow Dems from being exposed by going along with this tactic of shielding witnesses.===

    Madigan and the Dems not only had a hearing, they impeached, with a lone Dem holdout, his sister in law.

    It’s too early to imbibe at a level to believe the Blago stuff you do.

  24. - Pundent - Thursday, Sep 17, 20 @ 8:42 am:

    =The fed may say on second thought—since no can even agree on what I said—not worth it. Shut it down.=

    I don’t think you can shut it down when it’s pretty much a non-starter from the get go. The committee can undertake any investigation is wishes to. But the feds already seemed to lay out the ground rules and it doesn’t leave much for the committee to do other than give its members an opportunity to bloviate. And so far that seems to be the extent of what’s occurring. I will be interested in seeing what’s captured in the Republican letter but I’m not sure if their will be much if anything from Lausch to actually do with any of this beyond reiterating what’s already been said. It’s not the AG’s job to act as as referee for the GA.

  25. - Really - Thursday, Sep 17, 20 @ 9:26 am:

    This should be no surprise to anyone. This was never going to accomplish anything. Just more game playing by the Dems.

  26. - Chicagonk - Thursday, Sep 17, 20 @ 10:16 am:

    The committee should call Alaina Hampton to testify

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