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Pace of Madigan investigative committee in hands of Democrats

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Friday, September 4, 2020  |  Article  |  By Greg Bishop |

Ethics, Campaign Reform, Transparency (12a) , Pay to Play, Corruption Demmer, Tom--State House, 90 , Madigan, Michael--State House, 22 , Mazzochi, Deanne Marie--State House, 47

(The Center Square) – Republicans on the recently created investigative committee into House Speaker Michael Madigan’s ties to the ComEd patronage scandal hope to move things along.

The petition has been filed outlining a series of different charges that arise from ComEd’s deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors.

State Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, R-Elmhurst, is on the committee to investigate. She hopes it moves quickly.

“This is an investigative committee, and certainly we want to make sure that we’re creating an appropriate record so that the disciplinary committee can go forth and make findings based on that,” Mazzochi said.

The disciplinary committee has not been named. But after the investigative committee does its work, a disciplinary committee could vote to move a resolution to the full house to censure Madigan, expel him, or do nothing at all.

The clock is on. If the committees don't finish their work before the end of the 101st General Assembly’s term mid-January, they’ll have to start again.

State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, is also on the investigative committee. He said there’s sufficient time now to work through the process before next year.

Despite recusing himself from picking members for the committee, Madigan said it was an election-year political stunt by Republicans to distract from “a federal administration that has used the White House to prop up Donald Trump’s wealthy” donors.

Mazzochi doesn’t see the connection of what’s going on in Washington D.C. to what’s going on in the Illinois statehouse.

“None of the things that are being discussed in the deferred prosecution agreement involving ComEd have anything to do with what’s going on in Washington D.C.,” Mazzochi said. “Unfortunately they’re based squarely here in the state of Illinois.”

Mazzochi noted even Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker said there are questions Madigan needs to answer about the issues raised in the patronage scandal.

“I’m happy to work quickly so that we can move things along, but unfortunately the timing of the schedule as it usually is is in the hands of the majority party here,” Mazzochi said.

Madigan isn’t just speaker of the House, he’s also the chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois. Alongside two other political committees he controls, Madigan is also the chairman of the Democratic Majority, a political campaign to support Democratic members of the Illinois House.

The Democratic chairman of the special investigative committee, state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, has the ability to set the pace of the committee. He said they're still ironing out the details heading into a long holiday weekend.