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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Former Rep. Ives says Madigan raid spotlights state of Illinois politics

State Government

By Glenn Minnis | Dec 19, 2019

Jeanne ives
Jeanne Ives

Former Rep. Jeanne Ives is convinced Illinois voters might be even more outraged about the direction of the state if they were privy to an up-close look of how Springfield actually operates.

“They ran through the legislation haphazardly because they can,” Ives told the Prairie State Wire of the experiences she recalls from her six-years as a state representative serving the 42nd District. “If voters only knew, they would vote them out of office.”

In the meantime, Ives, currently running against U.S. Rep. Sean Casten (D-Downers Grove) in the Sixth Congressional District, laments that she isn’t surprised to see the array of federal corruption scandals continuing to play out in Springfield.

“Illinois taxpayers don’t need a federal investigation to know that they have been fleeced by big government that is in bed with big politicians and certain big corporations,” she added. “They see it in every tax bill and in the cost of services.”

In the case of the federal subpoena recently served on a prominent, local public affairs organization, the City Club, Ives said she isn’t surprised to hear that longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) is right at the center of it. WBEZ radio recently reported that Madigan, the longest serving House Speaker in state history, was named in the federal filing, which at least partly stems from the organization’s longstanding political hiring and contracting ties with Commonwealth Edison.

Several media outlets have reported the subpoena was served in concert with a search warrant federal agents executed on ComEd’s downtown Michigan Avenue office and that Madigan’s name was one of up to 20 that were listed in subpoena documents.

The news is the latest sign that federal agents could finally be zeroing in on Madigan, arguably the most powerful lawmaker in the state.

“The obvious collusion among these players to pass what they want regardless of the cost to people is evident to anyone who ever sat in on a committee hearing or watched floor debate on significant bills,” Ives said.

Only six months ago, federal agents took possession of computer equipment and streams of documents following their raid on City Club, where Jay Doherty serves as president. Sources have indicated the raid is tied to long-simmering allegations that ComEd, where Doherty is also a top lobbyist, has long been in the business of hiring politically connected individuals in consulting jobs where they are required to do very little work in exchange for favorable government actions like rate increases.

During Doherty’s tenure, former ComEd and Exelon Utilities Corp. executive Anne Pramaggiore spoke at the City Club on five separate occasions. Earlier this month she abruptly announced her retirement as chief executive of Exelon.

In a recent statement, Ives made it a point of reminding everyone how she has long spoken out about some of the questionable ties between ComEd and several state lawmakers.

“Remember the Exelon bailout bill that gave them a $2.4 billion subsidy in 2016?” she said. “The lobbyists were thick as thieves in Springfield trying to pass it. [Gov. Bruce] Rauner signed it. Republican leaders pushed it and all the weak-kneed legislators fell in with the program. This was the bipartisan combine at work in Illinois. And now we have the feds snooping around. I bet it is related to the passage of that bill. ”

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