Legislative News from Rep. Grant Wehrli

SIC Chairman Halts Committee Meetings Until After November 3 Election, Tries to Bury Committee under Paperwork

After deliberately “slow-walking” the work of the Special Investigating Committee (SIC) for the last two months, this week Committee Chair Chris Welch (D-Hillside), took steps to further shield Speaker of the House Mike Madigan and stymie the work of the committee.

On Tuesday afternoon, Chairman Welch announced the committee would not meet again until after the November 3 election. In response to this unilateral decision to halt the committee’s work for a full month, we three Republicans who serve on the SIC held a press conference to denounce Welch’s latest delay tactic.

Click here to watch that press conference.

I called Welch’s decision a betrayal to Governor Pritzker, since even the Governor has said that Mike Madigan should testify before this committee. I also suggested that it’s time for Governor Pritzker to take matters into his own hands just demand Madigan’s resignation since it’s clear the Democrats serving on the SIC are more interested in protecting their friend and mentor, Mike Madigan, than in learning the truth.

The SIC was created on August 31, and the chairman has done nothing but stonewall since day one.  At our first meeting, Republicans had to fight to get primary documents placed into the record, and at last week’s meeting, we heard from just one witness and were denied an opportunity to issue subpoenas to Mike Madigan and others named in the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA). Chairman Welch has had subpoenas for Mike Madigan and others named in the DPA in his hands for a full week now, and he still has not issued the subpoenas to key individuals who can provide relevant testimony. These delay tactics, coupled with Tuesday’s decision to halt the committee’s proceedings until after the election, show me that Chris Welch is willing to cast his integrity aside so he can act as a human shield to protect the Speaker of the House.

On Tuesday, Chairman Welch also took steps to bury the committee in paperwork. The SIC’s charge is clear. It deals only with Speaker Mike Madigan and whether or not the Speaker engaged in conduct that is unbecoming of a lawmaker, and which constituted a breach in the public trust. Despite this limited scope, Welch sent a letter to ComEd on Tuesday, requesting ten years’ worth of communications between ComEd or Exelon and a long list of individuals. All but one of the people in his data request fall outside the scope of the SIC’s charge. His request included hundreds of people, and it could take months for ComEd to respond.

Anyone with any remaining doubt about Chairman Welch’s true motives should know now that he will do whatever it takes to protect Mike Madigan from having to appear before this committee. His roadblocks, delays, and stonewalling tactics tell us all where his priorities lie, and they’re not with the 12.8 million Illinoisans who deserve a fair, expedient, unbiased investigatory process. Michael J. Madigan is referenced as ‘Public Official A’ 72 times in the DPA and another 30 or so times in the plea agreement entered into last week by former ComEd Executive VP of Legislative Affairs Fidel Marquez, who pled guilty to bribery and conspiracy charges in federal court for his role in the scheme. We need to continue with our important work, and Chairman Welch needs to stop obstructing our process.

In light of these new developments, State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon), who serves as the Minority Spokesperson for the SIC, issued this statement on behalf of the Republicans on the committee:

“At last week’s meeting of the Special Investigating Committee, a motion to subpoena key witnesses was ruled out of order by Chairman Welch, and no vote of the committee was taken. After the meeting, we sent copies of the requested subpoenas to Chairman Welch for his review. Still now, a week later, he has not responded nor issued any subpoenas.

“Instead, Chairman Welch sent a letter to ComEd requesting a data dump of all communications in the last decade between ComEd or Exelon and any staff member, employee, contractor, or consultant of Governors Quinn, Rauner, and Pritzker, Senate Presidents Cullerton and Harmon, Senate Minority Leaders Radogno and Brady, House Minority Leaders Cross and Durkin, and Speaker Madigan—only one of whom is actually identified in the Deferred Prosecution Agreement. This request involves hundreds of people and could take months for ComEd to respond.

“In contrast, I requested from ComEd documents directly related to the DPA—documents they acknowledged during testimony in last week’s meeting. Since the Special Investigating Committee was created by a petition with a specific charge about Speaker Madigan, and with direct references to the DPA, I believe it is appropriate for the committee to call witnesses and request documents that are relevant to the committee’s charge.”

Wehrli Named “Friend of Agriculture” for Support of Farmers and Agriculture

Agriculture is the number one driver of our state’s economy, and in Illinois, one of every four people works in the agriculture industry. Farmers are a critical part of the fabric of our state, and as a legislator, I am committed to helping them with their goal of improving food production practices and ensuring a plentiful and safe food supply.

I’m pleased to announce that I have been named a “Friend of Agriculture” by the Activator Program of the Illinois Farm Bureau. In presenting the award, Kara Norton, Executive Director of the DuPage County Farm Bureau, said my voting record on issues affecting the agriculture industry was among the most supportive in the state. The award is based on each legislator’s voting record in the 101st General Assembly on issues facing the farming community. There were 11 bills considered under this year’s voting criteria, including legislation on the minimum wage, the graduated income tax, and legislation affecting ethanol plants and the department of labor.

The DuPage County Farm Bureau was created in 1913, and is one of the oldest bureaus of its kind in the United States. The DuPage County Farm Bureau currently includes approximately 15,000 members.

Rep. Wehrli Discusses Special Investigating Committee on Talk Radio WJPF

Earlier this week I had an opportunity to talk with WJPF radio host Tom Miller for the Morning Newswatch program. We had a nice conversation about the Special Investigating Committee, and the SIC’s next steps. Click here to listen to that interview.

Nearly $3 Million Returned to District 41 Residents through IL I-Cash Program

At any given time, the IL State Treasurer holds billions dollars in unclaimed funds for Illinoisans. These are funds left behind that have not been claimed by their rightful owners. The State holds these lost funds until they are claimed by either the original owner or their heirs. Property is returned at no cost with the proper identification.

This summer, my intern Haley was given an assignment to work with the Treasurer’s Office and try to get as much of the unclaimed money back into the hands of rightful owners in the 41st District as possible. I’m thrilled to announce that through Haley’s hard work and in collaboration with the IL Treasurer’s I-Cash division, $2,833,653.60 has been returned to individuals living in the 41st District. Great work Haley!

City of Naperville Announces Rules for Safe Halloween Fun

To maintain public health and encourage residents to celebrate Halloween safely this year, the City of Naperville offers the following Halloween trick-or-treating guidelines:

For the safety of families participating in trick-or-treating, those going door-to-door are encouraged to wear face coverings at all times, keep trick-or-treating groups small and maintain a safe distance from other groups when travelling from house to house. Parents are also encouraged to remind their children not to eat any candy until an adult has inspected it and they have thoroughly washed their hands. Individuals choosing to pass out candy are also encouraged to wear face coverings and gloves and are asked to pass out candy individually instead of inviting children to take a treat from a communal bowl.

The City also understands not everyone may feel comfortable with trick-or-treating this year. City staff has designed signs for residents to print and place in their windows, doors or other visible areas for trick-or-treaters to identify whether you are welcoming them or not. These signs are available via download here, or residents may pick up a copy at the Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle St.

Links to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are available on the City’s website (www.naperville.il.us/halloween) along with additional information about Halloween safety and trick-or-treating recommendations.