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After news of Madigan's secret FBI tape, Pritzker wants to 'see the investigation play out'

Illinois Watchdog.Org

Wednesday, January 30, 2019  |  Article  |  By Greg Bishop

Ethics, Campaign Reform, Transparency (12a) , Governor (44) Madigan, Michael--State House, 22
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he wants to "see the investigation play out" after news that a federal investigation into the Chicago City Council included a secretly recorded conversation between House Speaker Michael Madigan and a developer who wanted to build a hotel in Chinatown.

Chicago Ald. Danny Solis, who spent two years cooperating with investigators arranged the meeting between Madigan and the developer at Madigan's law office 2014. Madigan was recorded pitching his legal services and seeking a longterm relationship with the developer, according to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times. Madigan denied wrongdoing through his attorney.

Pritzker said Tuesday that it’s unethical for a lawmaker to vote on a measure that would benefit a private business or outside profession, but didn't directly address the criticism that continues to surround Madigan and his property tax appeals business.

Madigan's attorney told the Sun-Times that "to our knowledge, neither the speaker nor his law firm is under investigation."

The revelations came after longtime Chicago Alderman Ed Burke was indicted for allegedly trying to shake down a restaurant owner to get businesses for his property tax appeals law firm.

Pritzker wouldn't directly comment on the story about Madigan. He said with an ongoing FBI investigation, it wouldn't be appropriate for him to comment.

“I think it’s very important for people to be held accountable if they’ve done something wrong,” Pritzker said. “So we need to see the investigation play out. I think people who are indicted or found to have acted inappropriately imperial or against the law to be held fully accountable for that.”

Pritzker said he’s working to ensure his administration addresses any perceived conflicts of interest. He said more can be done throughout state government.

“We should continue to look at that,” Pritzker said. “We should continue to surface ideas about how to make sure that people are living up to their obligations in public service and then that people who do anything wrong are held accountable for that.”

Asked about lawmakers with other professions, Pritzker said it’s common in a civilian legislature for elected officials to have other jobs.