The next hearing into Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s involvement in a nearly decade-long bribery scheme utility ComEd admitted to will be after the election. But Democrats are asking for a data dump that Republicans say will stall accountability.
Last week, amid Republican questioning, Exelon compliance officer David Glockner revealed an email a Madigan office manager sent related to a utility board post for a Madigan ally. State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, asked if there are other communications involving Madigan they can provide.
“There are certain communications that do fit within that kind of broadly defined parameter,” Glockner said.
Demmer then asked if there are similar communications the committee can access.
“Yes, and I think we’d want to have kind of a clearer understanding of what the specific request is so that we can be sure that we are complying,” Glocker said.
Demmer said he then followed up with a formal request for specific records.
But the chairman of the committee followed that up with what Demmer said was a “data dump” request that goes beyond Madigan.
“Any communication between ComEd or Exelon and any staff member, employee, consultant, contractor, of any governor or any legislative leader for the past decade,” Demmer said.
Committee chairman Chris Welch, D-Hillside, said their broad request for the utility’s hiring and oversight to lobbyists and consultants is important for broader context.
“This information provides critical context for the committee’s work,” Welch said Tuesday. “We cannot conduct a thorough investigation with blinders on; if we are to consider whether ComEd’s admissions in the deferred prosecution agreement constitute conduct unbecoming of a lawmaker, we need to understand the full extent of ComEd’s actions – including interactions with other elected officials instrumental to the passage of their legislation.”
Demmer said that lacks focus and will delay the committee’s ability to complete its work.
“Certainly a document related to the deferred prosecution agreement is something the committee should be party to,” Demmer said. “I’m not sure we can say the same about going back over a ten-year period.”
The next hearing will be Nov. 5, Welch said “without the backdrop of a political campaign.”
“In the interim, the committee’s work continues; we are reaching out to attorneys for Fidel Marquez to arrange his testimony, and engaging in a thorough review of our subpoena power, so members of this committee can make a fully informed decision and set responsible precedent for years to come,” Welch said.
Marquez pleaded guilty to bribery in the case last week in federal court. Madigan hasn’t been charged with a crime and maintains he’s done nothing wrong. Republicans have requested to subpoena Madigan and others who have refused to voluntarily provide testimony.
State Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, R-Elmhurst, is also on the committee and said delaying the next hearing to after the election is stonewalling and a disservice to voters.
“We have a Speaker of the House mentioned 72 times is a deferred prosecution agreement,” Mazzochi said. “We are right before an election and Chris Welch doesn’t want to give voters that transparency. That’s despicable.”
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