Legislative News from Rep. Grant Wehrli

Wehrli Chosen for Service on Special Investigative Committee on Speaker Madigan 

On August 31, three House Republicans filed a petition to form a Special Investigative Committee. The subject of the petition is Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and surrounds information from the Deferred Prosecution Agreement entered into by ComEd and the United States Attorney’s Office. The petition was signed by House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), and State Representatives Andrew Chesney (R-Freeport) and Ryan Spain (R-Peoria).

Durkin, Chesney and Spain used House Rule 91 as the basis for their petition. This rarely used House Rule outlines a clear process for gathering testimony and issuing findings in cases where corruption is alleged or suspected. The only two other times House Rule 91 has been invoked was several years ago when former State Rep. Derrick Smith was ultimately expelled from office after being indicted on bribery charges, and recently in the case of former State Rep. Luis Arroyo, who was also indicted on bribery charges. Arroyo resigned his seat before the committee convened.

The following day I was named to the six-member bipartisan panel that will collect testimony and determine whether there is cause to believe Speaker Mike Madigan used his office or position for direct or indirect gain. The special investigative committee is comprised of three House Republicans and three House Democrats. State Representatives Tom Demmer (R-Dixon, Republican spokesperson), Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst), Chris Welch (D-Hillside, committee chair), Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero), and Natalie Manley (D-Romeoville), join me on this important panel. The Special Investigative Committee will hold its first meeting this week on Thursday, September 10, at 9:00 AM in Springfield. All hearings will be public, and you can watch them by going to www.ilga.gov, and clicking on “Audio/Video” under “House,” and then navigating to the hearing in Room 114 Capitol Building. The three Republican panelists will be conducting a press conference on Wednesday at 3:00pm where we will take questions from the press corps. The conference will be broadcast live on the House Republicans’ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ILHouseGOP.

On July 17, 2020, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois released a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“DPA”) with Commonwealth Edison (“ComEd”) in Case Number 1:20-cr-00368, where ComEd acknowledges and agrees that ComEd engaged in a bribery scheme with Public Official A and individuals closely associated with Public Official A from 2011-2019. In the DPA, Public Official A is referred to as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Mike Madigan was the Speaker of the House from 2011-2019 and is still the Speaker today.

ComEd admits to corruptly providing, offering and agreeing to give things of value, namely jobs, vendor subcontracts, and monetary payments associated with those jobs and subcontracts for the benefit of Madigan and his associates, with the intent to influence and reward Madigan. ComEd admits to bribing Madigan and his associates with jobs, contracts and payments in an effort to influence Madigan to assist ComEd with respect to legislation concerning ComEd and its businesses. Madigan has denied any wrongdoing.

As part of the DPA, ComEd agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into a years-long bribery scheme, which implicates Speaker Madigan. On the same day ComEd agreed to pay the fine, Madigan’s office received a subpoena from a federal grand jury for documents concerning an ongoing investigation. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has been advised of the petition and the legislative process moving forward. It is our intention not to interfere in any way with the federal investigation.

The allegations outlined in the deferred prosecution agreement are quite serious and warrant a comprehensive investigation. House Rule 91 provides for the creation of a special investigative committee, and it is an honor to be chosen to serve. This is incredibly important work and I look forward to our deliberations.

Rep. Wehrli Discusses Special Investigative Committee in Podcast and TV Interview

Following the announcement of the formation of the Special Investigative Committee, Committee Chair Chris Welch and I did an interview with Capitol News Illinois for the Springfield political podcast “Capitol Cast.” We discussed the role of the committee and the importance of fair and honest deliberations. I agree with Governor Pritzker that Speaker Madigan has many questions that he must answer, and I am hopeful that the Speaker will testify before our committee and provide answers to questions that have, so far, remained unanswered.  Click here to listen to that podcast.

I also spoke with Fox 32 political editor Mike Flannery for a segment of his “Fired Up” political news show. In both of these interviews, I discussed the steps that led us to the point where Republicans felt a special investigative committee was necessary, and the role the committee will play in determining if wrongdoing occurred and if the issue should be moved to a “trial” before a bipartisan 12-member panel. The “Fired Up” link is not yet available, but when it is, I will share it in a future newsletter.

Happy Labor Day!

Lastly, I hope everyone had a very happy Labor Day! On Monday and every Labor Day we pay tribute to American workers and their contributions and achievements. It has also become known as the unofficial end of summer. Whereas we typically enjoy parties and other celebrations to mark Labor Day, this year we were limited in how we could gather due to COVID-19. While there was no official parade this year, while working in my front yard on Monday I saw a mini parade of four old tractors come down my street. These folks, whose families have a long history of farming in Naperville, always participate in the Labor Day parade and decided that COVID-19 wasn’t going to deter them from this annual trek. It was great to see them!