By-A.J. Burns More stories on Madigan’s finances
The U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago said this week it has approved a lawmaker’s effort to lead the lawmakers’ Senate investigation into Gov. Bruce Rauner’s “one-of-a-kind” 2009 fundraising scheme to get money they think would be better spent in the Illinois House of Representatives.
Ken Beyer, a Democrat from Logan County who chairs the House Subpoena Oversight Committee, said he filed a court request for the Federal Hill office of U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger to allow him to call Rep. Danny Davis, D-Chicago, as a witness, as he seeks to overturn his being considered a co-conspirator by Rauner’s side. Davis, a Democrat from Downstate Oglethorpe, submitted his resignation from the House to the speaker on Wednesday.“I hope we have a collaborative effort to bring all the legislative members to the table to provide them with information,” Beyer said in a statement. “I am sure we can and we are hopeful we will.” Beyer’s office said this week it received the request on Sept. 1 from the Illinois Legislative Counsel Bureau, and that “the U.S. Attorney’s Office has determined that due to the complex situation brought about by Davis’ resignation and the fact that Davis is not charged with a crime, the U.S. Attorney’s Office does not have sufficient time to review the entire matter to determine that he should be dismissed from his subpoena responsibilities.”
Beyer made the request on behalf of Davis, Luger’s public integrity section said in a written statement.“This matter has been assigned to the legislative counsel, who is expected to turn over all of the evidence to the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” the statement said. “We remain confident the U.S. Attorney’s Office will complete its review and decide whether to dismiss the petition.”
Republicans have already objected to Davis’ finding being considered a co-conspirator, and the House last week passed a package of bills to revive the impeachment process against Rauner. The rules for the process allow political appointees to witness a trial by the State’s Attorney if they see fit. The bills are not mentioned in the Illinois Constitution.
Frank Hobbs, a spokesman for Rauner, said in a statement Friday that “the federal government does not have any authority to appoint witnesses to House committee investigations. They would not be permitted to conduct such proceedings.
“As a fellow taxpayer, I have spent my lifetime in public service and I am tired of a local government that is taking money from federal programs while getting nothing for it,” he said. “This local government is broken and it must be fixed.“Bruce Rauner wants our state to get back to what it was before he changed Illinois,” Hobbs said. “He wants us to support local projects that brought tax dollars to the taxpayer. Instead, Bruce Rauner wants to use the money to benefit politically connected special interests at the expense of taxpayers.” Davis said the timing was strange and he “never envisioned (being) a witness. I thought I would be the one.”
Davis said he helped Rauner sell the fundraising schemes to some of his friends, such as Rep. Chris Morrison, R-Highwood, that are also under investigation by the Senate Committee on Legislative Ethics. Morrison went through Rauner’s communications department to try to get information on how to raise the money — and how not to.“I had a transparent system on my phone,” Davis said. “I didn’t want to put any names out there.”
Davis said he approached Rauner about the OIC reports the governor allegedly used to justify the fundraising schemes, and they went downhill after Davis and Morrison helped orchestrate the legal documents that Rauner told anyone to sign.
The U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee this week held the first of three hearings on the possible corruption and ethics violations of Rauner’s four senior aides and campaign donors.
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