State Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) gave an update on the first meeting of the House Special Investigating Committee in Springfield.
The hearing began with a presentation of the charge, accusing Madigan of conduct unbecoming of a legislator in connection with various acts of bribery, extortion, and other state and federal laws based on the admitted facts of the July ComEd Deferred Prosecution Agreement.
However, after the charges were submitted into the record, Democrat Committee Chairperson Chris Welch sought to use procedural maneuvering to put future work of the committee on hold until discussions with the U.S. Attorney’s office reached resolution.
Mazzochi pushed back to ensure the work of the committee would not come to a halt. The committee approved Mazzochi’s clarified motion that Welch and Minority Spokesperson Tom Demmer simply communicate with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Mazzochi also urged the committee to continue working, and presented formal letters to secure the voluntary participation of multiple witnesses—including Speaker Madigan—in the committee’s investigation. Mazzochi also presented letters seeking various documents underpinning the ComEd Deferred Prosecution Agreement that serves as the basis for the investigatory charge against Madigan.
Prior to filing the petition that initiated the Special Investigating Committee process, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) says he spoke with the U.S. Attorney’s office; it did not object to filing the investigation request into Speaker Madigan.
Mazzochi reiterated, “it is fine to be in contact with the U.S. Attorney’s office. But our investigation is not a criminal or civil case. It is an internal House proceeding to decide whether the Speaker acted inappropriately and in breach of the public trust as laid out in the ComEd Deferred Prosecution Agreement. We should not put the rest of the business of the committee on hold while we wait for a response.”
Mazzochi then sought to get clarity on securing other evidence and the next hearing date; but Welch abruptly ended the meeting until the call of the Chair. Under Illinois House rules, the Chair has absolute discretion to decide whether and when to continue the hearing. Mazzochi expressed her concern that Welch was attempting to “slow walk” the process. Mazzochi explained that “legislators on both sides of the aisle have said there are many questions the Speaker must answer. It is time for the committee to start doing its work, and avoid delay. Witnesses need time to prepare. Evidence needs to be gathered. There’s no reason why we can’t start that process now so that the committee can complete its work in an expeditious manner.”