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Today’s corruption roundup

Friday, Oct 18, 2019

* Politico

First big (and still unanswered) Q: Who are “Associate A” or “Lobbyist B” involved in the federal case that’s hanging over state Sen. Martin Sandoval? Lawmakers want to know because they might have business with the secret sources. And lobbyists want to know because they probably share clients.

Um, there is no “Associate A” listed in the Sandoval search warrant. But, yeah, lots of people are definitely wondering about this line in the warrant

2. Items related to CW1, Lobbyist A, and/or Lobbyist B.

Please, do not try guessing their identities in comments. I have enough to do without deleting comments and banning people.

* Four unnamed Exelon officials are also listed in the search warrant. Joe Cahill takes a look at the impact of the investigation on the company

The investigations expose the underside of Exelon’s strategy: To win the Springfield game, you have to play by Springfield rules. And Springfield rules require more than the generous campaign contributions Exelon reliably hands out. Companies seeking the big favors Exelon has sought from lawmakers need stronger bonds with House Speaker Madigan and underbosses like Sandoval. That means hiring relatives, doling out lobbying work to favored operatives and generally greasing the wheels of Madigan’s machine.

A company can get pretty greasy playing that game—not a good look when the feds are hunting down corruption. The probes already have rattled Exelon’s executive ranks. Anne Pramaggiore, head of Exelon’s regulated utilities business and a direct subordinate of CEO Chris Crane, left abruptly on Tuesday. Two weeks earlier, top ComEd lobbyist Fidel Marquez exited suddenly.

Exelon and ComEd won’t say if either departure is related to the probe. But Exelon directors set up a special committee of independent board members to oversee responses to investigators.

Pramaggiore’s move spooked investors, who sent Exelon shares down more than 4 percent on the news. They’re right to worry. Along with potential legal jeopardy, there’s also a strategic dimension to Exelon’s predicament.

Exelon’s stock price is up a tiny bit today, but the trend is not its friend here.

* I suppose when you’re hunkered down during an active federal investigation, filing state campaign disclosure reports becomes a secondary priority. That or (just speculation here) he no longer has his records

Already under the federal microscope, McCook Mayor Jeffrey Tobolski is now facing a $200 fine for failing to file a legally required campaign disclosure report.

That number could grow by $200 every day that the report is late, with a maximum fine amount of $5,000.

The quarterly report, covering money raised and spent from July 1 through Sept. 30, was due by 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, and fines started to be assessed at midnight the next day, said Matt Dietrich, spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Elections.

This isn’t Tobolski’s first time missing a disclosure deadline, which is why the fine is that high. For a committee’s first violation, it’s $50 a day, $100 for the second, and $200 for the third.

* And we talked about this a little the other day

Mike Madigan’s troubles a boon to lawyers — legal bills exceed $1.5 millionHouse Speaker Mike Madigan dipped into his campaign funds for more than $418,597 in legal fees over the past three months, bringing the total he has spent on lawyers since last year to more than $1.5 million.

The Southwest Side Democrat’s legal headaches heated up in February 2018 amid allegations made by political consultant Alaina Hampton that one of Madigan’s longtime political aides sent her barrages of unwanted texts.

And Madigan’s situation only worsened.

Since then, the longest serving statehouse speaker in the country has endured two federal lawsuits, the exodus of his former chief of staff and a key legislative ally amid harassment allegations, and a federal court affidavit first obtained by the Sun-Times in January revealed Madigan had been secretly recorded during a 2014 meeting with then-Ald. Danny Solis (25th) and a developer who wanted to build a hotel in Chinatown.

More than $1.1 million went to Hinshaw & Culbertson.

* And the Senate Democrats flatly denied this claim the other day

Senate President John Cullerton repeatedly said that he wanted to make an “informed” decision about state Sen. Martin Sandoval’s leadership role before Sandoval resigned as chairman of the Illinois Senate Transportation Committee. […]

Cullerton had a lot more information than most Illinoisans, but declined to publicly sanction Sandoval in any way. In fact, Cullerton and Senate Democrats went to some length to keep information about the search warrant hidden. Senate Democrats initially released a redacted copy of the warrant. Later, after WBEZ filed a lawsuit to obtain the full warrant, Senate Democrats released the unredacted copy. It was only after that search warrant was released on Oct. 11 that Sandoval submitted a letter of resignation as chairman.

Put another way, Cullerton had a lot of information about what federal agents were looking for and did nothing. After the federal raid on Sept. 24, Cullerton played dumb.

From the Senate Democrats…

The Senate President was never shown the unredacted warrant or inventory. The FOIA officer handled those documents, and only the FOIA officer.

You may ask why? This is a firewall set up for instances like ongoing investigations.

It doesn’t appear the columnist checked in to see if what he was alleging had any basis in fact.

* Related…

* Editorial: No patience for problems: At the same time, other prominent politicians here have in the past not been as concerned about appearances and pending criminal investigations. Sometimes, they are indifferent to them. Pritzker, obviously, is not, and he’s made it clear that anyone who is compromised for whatever reason will be shunted aside at least until clouds of impropriety have dissipated.

* Chicago dominates competition for most red-light cameras: Chicago currently has 309 red-light cameras in the city, according to data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. At the peak of the program in 2010, there were 394. New York City has 164 cameras. Philadelphia is third, with 30 cameras. Phoenix follows with just 12. To put it in perspective, Gurnee, Illinois, has 15 red-light cameras.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments
  1. - Ok - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 10:16 am:

    I’ll be honest. When I originally read the search warrant, I read it as “OW1.”

    And then got worried about Oswego Willy.


  2. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 10:22 am:

    Like the name of the post, but the actual corruption roundup might still be a few months away. /s


  3. - anon2 - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 10:25 am:

    Legislators who want to ban redlight cameras are from the group who say they support local control except when they don’t.


  4. - Chicagonk - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 10:28 am:

    @anon2 - Redflex and now Safespeed. Unless the state can draft corruption-proof red light camera laws, red light cameras should be banned.


  5. - Someone you should know - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 10:29 am:

    I have heard from Airtight Sources that Lobbyist A is Ms. Peacock in the Library with the Candle, but I have to check it out


  6. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 10:29 am:

    - Ok -

    So far, I’m “ok”

    :)

    To the post,

    I’m glad this post Rich put up here exists.

    I know I need a reset to digest all these warrants, who responded what, when, and the fallout of the responding.

    This is a whale of a story.

    “Meanwhile”

    The burn rate of Madigan’s legal fees, wow.

    So far, as far as I know, speaking only for me, I haven’t seen the immediate necessity besides the obvious protecting at all costs anything going directly to MJM. A lotta dough when usually buffers help.

    To Cullerton,

    A real head scratcher, and Rich wrote about how both MJM and Cullerton go about their business, but right now necessity of visuals, be they indictments, raids, I mean the G raided a state house office, with a warrant. Can’t be passively deferral to an opposite image of that.

    Thanks, Rich, for a “roundup”. This, sadly, won’t even be the end of the beginning?


  7. - ChrisB - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 10:36 am:

    Man, Brew Moon is going to be prettay awkward this weekend.


  8. - Not a Billionaire - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 10:40 am:

    Maybe they should assume that they are talking to a potential secret source and not break any laws. Maybe easier….Lawmakers should not be lawbreakers.


  9. - @misterjayem - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 10:40 am:

    “And then got worried about Oswego Willy.”

    Oswego Willy is as honest as the day is long or my name isn’t Lobbyist B.

    – MrJM


  10. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 10:41 am:

    MJM’s legal fees at over $1.5 million. is another trend that seems to be growing….

    ” To win the Springfield game, you have to play by Springfield rules… …stronger bonds with House Speaker Madigan… That means hiring relatives, doling out lobbying work to favored operatives and generally greasing the wheels of Madigan’s machine”


  11. - Two sides to every story - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    Presuming Hinshaw is handling all of the litigation a total of $1.5 million in legal fees is pretty cheap. By my count there are 4 ongoing lawsuits, two in federal court.


  12. - Steve - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 10:50 am:

    This is a pretty big opportunity for Republicans to run against corruption the next election cycle if 219 S. Dearborn delivers indictments.


  13. - Back to the Future - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 10:50 am:

    Surprised at how quickly Gov. J.B. has been in “throwing people under the bus”.


  14. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 10:51 am:

    ===for Republicans to run against corruption the next election cycle===

    Might not want to remind voters about DC. Just sayin…


  15. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 10:53 am:

    === Republicans to run against corruption the next election cycle===

    - Steve -

    Do you see Trump as an asset in Illinois?

    The midterms here say Trump isn’t.


  16. - @misterjayem - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:00 am:

    “It doesn’t appear the columnist checked in to see if what he was alleging had any basis in fact.”

    The columnist is the Illinois editor of The Center Square.

    ‘Nuff said.

    – MrJM


  17. - Fav Human - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:01 am:

    hiring relatives, doling out lobbying work to favored operatives and generally greasing the wheels

    One must wonder, if this goes wide enough, if someone is going to get indicted for doing just these things??

    And what I really wonder is this: Who out there DIDN’T get searched, but is, shall we say, less than pristine clean, and decides they want to sleep at night.

    And so makes a call to 1-800 Tell FBI All I know?


  18. - {Sigh} - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:10 am:

    The warrant In #8 does reference Associate A… as in Vondra Associate A.


  19. - Steve - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    OW

    What can’t be achieved by election results might be achieved by indictments. Not necessarily a winning strategy (but possible winning strategy) but can disrupt politicians careers. The current U.S. Attorney seems to be different than those who have served before him. So, actually Trump might actually be an asset because he appointed the U.S. Attorney here. Just ask Alderman Ed Burke . Lots of nervous people in Illinois today. The political party in charge might be easily portrayed as the party of corruption with enough indictments. If Illinois Democrats want to tie all Republicans to Trump: you might expect Republicans to tie many Democrats to Alderman Ed Burke, Danny Solis, and whoever else gets indicted. There’s some great pictures with Danny Solis and his “friends”.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:22 am:

    === So, actually Trump might actually be an asset because he appointed the U.S. Attorney here. Just ask Alderman Ed Burke. Lots of nervous people in Illinois today.===

    You are trying to have this college dorm room philosophical Pollyanna wish.

    Every constitutional office, both US Senators, 74 State House members, 40 State Senators…

    Where you seeing this “Red Wave” in Illinois, based on “corruption”, especially after 2018, and with Trump on the ballot?

    Hope is not a strategy.


  21. - Nick Name - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:26 am:

    ===This is a pretty big opportunity for Republicans to run against corruption the next election cycle===

    Yes it would be refreshing to see them denounce Trump.


  22. - Steve - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:30 am:

    OW
    Things will become more apparent within the next 6 months concerning Illinois corruption. Alderman Ed Burke and Mike Madigan have already had to rake up big legal bills because the Trump Justice Department isn’t going to look the other way. The GOP has a real opportunity at the state level because of the level of corruption in the state of Illinois.


  23. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:32 am:

    - Steve -

    I’ll look forward to you voting against all these Dems.

    Troll someone else or get registered and vote.


  24. - Paddyrollingstone - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:32 am:

    Nick Name

    ===This is a pretty big opportunity for Republicans to run against corruption the next election cycle===

    Yes it would be refreshing to see them denounce Trump.

    Well played, sir. Kudos.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:32 am:

    === The GOP has a real opportunity at the state level because of the level of corruption in the state of Illinois.===

    Is this you, Bruce Rauner?

    Ugh.


  26. - Rich Miller - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:39 am:

    ===as in Vondra Associate A===

    Um, I don’t think anyone at the Statehouse is specifically asking who that person is.

    The talk I’m hearing is all about the lobsters, the cooperating witness, the Exelon execs and the IDOT officials.


  27. - Steve - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:40 am:

    OW

    I was beginning to think that you are Bruce Rauner to keep his name in the news. But seriously, who would thought one year ago Alderman Ed Burke (the guy with the most money in his campaign fund in Illinois) would be indicted for RICO? Who would have predicted one year ago Laura Lightfoot would be Mayor after winning 50 wards? Who predicted Trump’s win 6 before his win in 2016? Times do change.


  28. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:40 am:

    Anybody Trump-related investigating Illinois Democratic pols for corruption? Lol.

    In Illinois, right wingers’ corruption attacks apparently fail because they’re smokescreens for terrible policies that can’t win. Rauner attacked Madigan nonstop, and Pritzker during the last year’s elections, and look what it got him and the ILGOP. Waiting for opponents to be corrupt or attacking alleged and real corruption seems to be like chasing gambling losses, for right wingers—just keep chasing and losing and hoping to win by more chasing. Maybe a huge bombshell will change things, but it didn’t for Quinn in 2010 after Blago.


  29. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:42 am:

    - Steve -

    I read your comment. After lunch, go on the quad, play frisbee, and get some sun.

    Good luck.


  30. - @misterjayem - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:42 am:

    “The GOP has a real opportunity at the state level because of the level of corruption in the state of Illinois.”

    And the GOP had a real opportunity at the state level when Rod Blagojevich was removed from office and sent to prison.

    But more often than not, Illinois voters still ain’t buying what the GOP’s selling.

    In a healthy organization, this might give one pause to ponder why that might be.

    – MrJM


  31. - Steve - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:50 am:

    OW

    I can tell you seem to be a real health and fitness expert. Frisbee on the quad, what a hoot. My guess is some Illinois politicians will get the opportunity to play frisbee in Sandstone, Minnesota or Oxford , Wisconsin.


  32. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 11:51 am:

    - Steve -

    Move on from me.

    Better?


  33. - Steve - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 12:56 pm:

    OW

    The good news is the 6th Amendment did get incorporated by the U.S. Supreme Court for politicians and friends of politicians.


  34. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 12:57 pm:

    - Steve -

    Move on from me. Your trolling of me is tiresome and not adding.


  35. - Back to the Future - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 1:10 pm:

    Not sure this is a one political party problem. I suspect that
    if the republicans were in power the folks gettin the once over
    from the FBI would be republicans.
    I think we have a Business/ Government Cultural problem that the FBI can not cure.


  36. - Centennial - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    WBEZ is reporting that the City Clubs offices were raided too. Was that previously disclosed? I don’t get that angle.


  37. - SAP - Friday, Oct 18, 19 @ 3:36 pm:

    Regarding those who would like to fire Speaker Madigan, or at least retire Speaker Madigan, I don’t see that happening as long as campaign funds can be used to pay legal fees.


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