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*** UPDATED x2 *** Afternoon Preview: Former ComEd official to plead guilty, House investigative committee meets

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

* 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.”

* Sun-Times

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.

* Tribune

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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

28 Comments
  1. - Joe Bidenopolous - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 11:58 am:

    =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.=

    Since Demmer won’t predict it, I will.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 12:03 pm:

    === 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.===

    Prolly why Durkin feels a need to take over. Demmer is so out of his league, Durkin knows he needs to salvage this from Demmer.

    “Demmer wouldn’t predict that’ll happen.”

    That’s achieving something. You need to ask Demmer about useless activity. Demmer will talk about that.


  3. - Centennial - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 12:07 pm:

    Political theater. Nothing more. Albeit likely entertaining political theater.


  4. - Altgelds Ghost - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 12:10 pm:

    It is incredibly sad that the only standard Madigan offers for his conduct is the requesting of jobs and other favors from public bodies and private companies are technically legal.

    Illinois deserves more than leaders whose only ethical guide is whether conduct is technically legal.

    For Shame on all that remain silent as our state fails.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 12:20 pm:

    === Illinois deserves more than leaders whose only ethical guide is whether conduct is technically legal.===

    That’s on Demmer. Demmer could try to find 60 votes to force Madigan to step down.

    No.

    Demmer is about activity, it’s this theatre that Durkin must take over to salvage some semblance of… something.

    Why there was no move to “appear” in unison with the Dems who already had called for Madigan to step down.

    That’s why knowing the difference between activity and achievement makes this theatre so lacking to an end, and why Durkin knows he must step in to save it.


  6. - Marie - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 12:36 pm:

    What’s the worst that a legislative investigation can do, expel someone from Springfield? The investigation is looking at elected officials, and the proceedings appear public. In truth, it just seems to be in the way of any possible criminal investigations, in my opinion. In other words, why would anyone step down from a political role won by election when they have not been arrested or sentenced? Just thinking common sense- why give up what’s not legally taken away?


  7. - Jibba - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 1:10 pm:

    ===For Shame on all that remain silent===

    No, just being silent while those with real authority and expertise look into it (the US Attorney, not the legislature). And if connecting folks with jobs is illegal, prepare to convict literally every legislator. I am not pre-judging Madigan’s defense that there might have been some quid offered, but with no expectations of any pro quo.


  8. - SAP - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 1:19 pm:

    Did they plan for the hearing to start at the same time as White Sox first postseason pitch in 12 years or were they just lucky?


  9. - fs - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 1:37 pm:

    To the update: it appears he might giving them information they find useful.


  10. - ILPundit - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 1:39 pm:

    Taking a potential 30 year prison sentence and a $300 Million fine off the table seems like a big deal. I’m sure there is nothing to see here.


  11. - SSL - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 1:44 pm:

    They must really need what they believe Marquez has to say. Or maybe they have nothing else.


  12. - annon white sox fan - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 1:45 pm:

    That is an interesting pleae deal.


  13. - dbk - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 1:48 pm:

    Weirdly enough, when I read the original post w/o Update, I thought to myself “Rodriguez is gonna sing.”

    Given that probation is just one step down from immunity, I’m thinking his song will be a long one.


  14. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 1:51 pm:

    ===Feds say they intend to ask for probation for ex-ComEd VP===

    That’s mighty nice of them… or there’s a truckload of stuff coming that justifies this.

    It’s a “Wow” type of development.


  15. - Arock - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 1:59 pm:

    Why would Speaker Madigan unethical behavior be any concern to the Democrats? I mean his behavior has been unethical for decades and they were accomplices in keeping him in power to keep themselves in power.


  16. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 2:02 pm:

    === decades===

    Is that you Bruce Rauner?

    If Madigan is so bad, why has “Fire Madigan” failed so badly?

    You should be asking yourself, not “why aren’t Dems… “ , you should be upset, why Republicans can’t win races, or upset how Rauner ruined the party.


  17. - Real Defender - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 2:12 pm:

    Plea deal is very interesting. The lobbyist job is to serve in the best interest of your client. A lot of gray areas, but shady deals are expected of the profession by the general public.

    An elected official’s job is to serve in the best interest of the public that elected you and shady deals betray the trust of the public. Not saying anything happened here, but I’m thinking the Feds could care less about ComEd and view them as a means to an end.


  18. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 2:34 pm:

    ===Feds say they intend to ask for probation for ex-ComEd VP===

    It’s still Trump’s justice department. Maybe ComEd negotiated a good deal to hire Junior.


  19. - Fav Human - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 2:45 pm:

    Feds say they intend to ask for probation for ex-ComEd VP

    If I were the ex CEO, I’d be sweating bullets right about now.

    I wonder who else is sweating….


  20. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 3:05 pm:

    Speaker Madigan and whoever was the point person with Com Ed


  21. - Birds on the Bat - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    Is that you Bruce Rauner?

    You really need some new material.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 3:34 pm:

    - Birds on the Bat -

    You can always *add* to the discussion.

    To the hearing thus far;

    No real news being made, Durkin can (is as I type) give an opening statement, Durkin can’t ask questions, and lawyer can’t ask questions either.

    That took, according to Hannah’s twitter, 45 minutes.

    Will this be done by the 5 or 6 o’clock news?

    The 10pm news will be about the debate, “baseball”, POTUS’ taxes, and the Coronavirus… so…


  23. - Law Man - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 3:44 pm:

    and we wonder why the Dems remain in charge? Media won’t cover the news, Dems won’t buck the hammer, voters won’t see anything to change from voting Dem


  24. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 3:56 pm:

    === Media won’t cover the news===

    For the love of Peter;

    Between the debate, “baseball”, POTUS’ taxes, and the Coronavirus, where does “Fire Madigan”, part 7,364 fit?

    Oh… and a Supreme Court nominee being pushed before an election in 35 days.

    Durkin is trying… it’s like the 6th or 7th story of the day… maybe.


  25. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 3:57 pm:

    Who is this?

    “Later, in or around 2016, MARQUEZ facilitated the movement of the “subcontract” for the same associate of Public Official A who had been paid through Individual 1’s Firm and later
    Company 1, from Company 1 to another third party intermediary.”

    I mean, it is obvious who the rest of the people are, but who is the new third party intermediary?


  26. - Nobody Sent - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 4:02 pm:

    In light of the benefit ComEd got, that guy better be telling some really juicy stories to avoid any prison time.


  27. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 5:19 pm:

    “Media won’t cover the news,” the goof says on a post that’s a roundup of NEWS COVERAGE OF THIS TOPIC.

    Idiots.


  28. - Frank talks - Tuesday, Sep 29, 20 @ 5:38 pm:

    So who will testify next after Comed? Obviously not today, as its still going, but at next hearing?


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