* More background is here if you need it. WBEZ…
A legislative panel investigating House Speaker Michael Madigan reconvenes Tuesday on the same day a former top Commonwealth Edison official is expected to plead guilty to federal charges tied to the utility’s bribery-stained lobbying efforts targeting the speaker.
The House committee probing potential misconduct by Madigan could hear Tuesday from a top Exelon official and former federal prosecutor who was hired to repair the utility’s damaged reputation following its July acknowledgment of a 9-year illegal effort to woo Madigan.
But perhaps the bigger headline could emerge at a noon hearing at the Dirksen Federal Building, where Fidel Marquez, ComEd’s former in-house lobbyist, is expected to enter a plea to a charge that he engaged in a conspiracy to commit bribery to help the utility advance its Springfield wishlist.
“We’ll be watching the Marquez court appearance closely to see if there is any additional information that comes out of that,” said State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, who serves as the top Republican on the bipartisan committee investigating Madigan.
* ABC 7…
The former, highly-compensated lobbyist, just accused early this month, is expected to plead guilty to arranging jobs and other perks for Madigan’s political allies in exchange for favorable action in Springfield. “for the purpose of influencing and rewarding Public Official A in connection with his official duties as Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.”
The feds accuse Marquez of working “to obtain jobs, contracts, and monetary payments associated with those jobs and contracts from ComEd and its affiliates, even in instances where such associates performed little or no work that they were purportedly hired to perform for ComEd.”
Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, its chairman, confirmed Monday that David Glockner, ComEd’s executive vice president for compliance and audit, will testify before the committee Tuesday. Glockner will be accompanied by Reid Schar, the company’s defense attorney in federal court.
The committee had also invited several key players in the scandal to testify — including Madigan, his political ally Mike McClain, and former ComEd execs Marquez, John Hooker and Anne Pramaggiore. All have declined to participate except for ComEd, according to Rep. Tom Demmer, the Republican spokesperson on the committee. […]
Finally, Demmer said the committee is likely to discuss last week’s letter from Madigan, in which the speaker said he would not be appearing before the committee while insisting, “I have done nothing wrong.”
Though Madigan wrote that, “I cannot provide information I do not have, and I cannot answer questions about issues of which I have no knowledge or conversations to which I was not a party,” Demmer said members of the committee might still have a few questions for the speaker.
Democrats and Republicans have sparred over what the committee can and can’t ask under guidelines laid down by U.S. Attorney John Lausch.
The U.S. attorney’s office would object, for example, to lawmakers asking witnesses about grand jury proceedings or their conversations with federal authorities, among other subjects. The office also would object if the committee offered immunity in exchange for testimony or documents.
But the letter, sent as a follow-up to a discussion held at the lawmakers’ request, leaves room for the committee to ask about facts laid out in the deferred prosecution agreement.
Lausch clarified in a second letter to Welch and the committee’s top Republican, Rep. Tom Demmer of Dixon, that he doesn’t object to the committee asking witnesses about “nonpublic” information as long as it doesn’t fall into one of the categories he previously deemed off-limits.
* Center Square…
Republicans in the Illinois House Special Investigating Committee looking into Speaker Michael Madigan’s involvement in a nearly decade-long patronage scheme may seek to issue subpoenas. […]
Demmer also expects there may be a motion Tuesday to subpoena not just Madigan and others, but also documents related to the case.
“We know the nature of the investigation means that you don’t just talk to people who are eager to talk to you but you talk to folks who may not be so eager to talk to you in order to get a full picture of the situation,” Demmer said. “The question of a subpoena is one that I think we’ll have to deal with as a committee and decide which witnesses we want to issue subpoenas to and for what documents we might want to issue subpoenas.”
Such a motion could fail if it’s split along party lines in the six-member bipartisan committee. Demmer wouldn’t predict that’ll happen.
* Rachel Hinton at the Sun-Times…
Mike Lawrence, a press secretary for former Republican Gov. Jim Edgar, said he has “no confidence that legislators can investigate legislators.”
“It is not reasonable to expect lawmakers to be nonpartisan, independent investigators, prosecutors and ultimately judges in this atmosphere — particularly during an election cycle,” said Lawrence, a former Sun-Times Springfield Bureau chief. “Democrats and Republicans on the committee have been unable to agree on the process — let alone determine whether the accusations are valid and, if so, justify his removal.” […]
Republicans are eager to make sure any heat Madigan felt over the summer doesn’t cool down before fall election.
“It’s the biggest issue the Republicans have got going,” [John Jackson, a visiting professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale] said. “They’ve had some difficulty mounting competitive campaigns and particularly funding competitive campaigns for the legislature, and this is their one best single thing they will be using throughout the state.”
Watch the 2 o’clock hearing here or here.
*** UPDATE 1 *** Hmm…
*** UPDATE 2 *** The Fidel Marquez plea agreement is here.