Rich Miller: What is feds’ motivation in naming names? – Herald & Review

Posted: June 3, 2021 at 1:47 am


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When reading last weeks indictment of Tim Mapes, its important to remember that federal prosecutors have been trying to prove that his old boss, former House Speaker Michael Madigan, was directing the effort to allegedly bribe him with favors.

Madigans longtime chief of staff was indicted May 26 for allegedly lying to a federal grand jury and attempting to obstruct the grand jurys corruption investigation.

It says right there in the indictment that the grand jury is investigating efforts by [Madigan], and efforts of [Madigans former consigliere Mike McClain] on [Madigans] behalf, to obtain for others private jobs, contracts, and monetary payments, in order to influence and reward [Madigan] in connection with [Madigans] role as Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.

So, they asked Mapes questions about whether Madigan had directed Mike McClain to perform sensitive tasks, or whether Madigan had directed McClain to exercise Madigans power and authority, or whether Madigan or his staff had sought McClains advice, or whether McClain had performed work for Madigan or received assignments from him or served as his communications conduit, or whether McClain assisted Madigan with matters concerning the Illinois House of Representatives, its members, its lobbyists, or with the entities or individuals having pending matters before the Illinois House of Representatives.

While these are all central questions to the feds probe of Madigan, they are not necessarily questions that would criminally implicate Mapes. The government obtained an order from Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer in March to give Mapes immunity for his grand jury testimony. He could respond without incriminating himself.

Anyone with even basic knowledge of the case against Mike McClain would know that the feds had tapped and then seized his phone and his computer. Its no surprise, therefore, that the FBI possessed numerous conversations between McClain and Mapes, and prosecutors asked Mapes about those convos during the grand jury proceeding.

Did McClain tell Mapes anything hed discussed with Madigan or what he was doing on behalf of Madigan during 2017-2019? No, Mapes said, according to the indictment. Did Mapes know about any tasks or assignments for McClain from Madigan in 2017 and 2018 or any time after McClain officially retired from lobbying in 2016? No. Etc.

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Mapes attorneys claim the questions were vague and imprecise and were about events that took place many years ago.

Maybe some of the questions couldve been vague, but Tim Mapes was infamous for making it his business to know everything and never seemed to forget anything. He was a detail guy and had a voracious appetite for news and gossip. And the record shows that McClain never made it a secret to almost anyone that he was doing things for Madigan after he supposedly retired from lobbying at the end of 2016.

The feds tapes and emails of McClains conversations with Mapes himself may have proved just that. As an example, McClain described to Mapes work and assignments from [Madigan] between 2017 and 2019, the indictment claimed. Mapes also allegedly provided McClain messages communicated to Mapes from Madigan about tasks McClain was performing on behalf of McClain.

That Mapes would allegedly lie to a grand jury when he most certainly knew what the government had on him is either profoundly stupid and careless or some real-life Hollywood stuff.

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Its natural to be paranoid about the timing of this indictment, coming just five days before the spring sessions adjournment and during a very difficult negotiation over ComEd parent company Exelons demand for yet another giant ratepayer subsidy for three more nuclear power plants. The feds have had a habit for a couple of years of announcing indictments at crucial points during Illinois legislative sessions, and this may have been no different. Part of the Madigan probe centers around the 2016 Exelon nuclear bailout, after all.

The indictment contains a single mention of ComEds current CEO, although it doesnt even hint at even a tiny bit of scandal. Mapes was simply asked whether he had any knowledge of Madigans impressions of the guy. But the feds did throw in that name check, which could make people wonder what the heck is going on because the federales dont generally toss around names without some sort of purpose even if that purpose may be chaos.

1965:As a first-year Loyola-Chicago law student, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley appoints Madigan to a job in the city's law department.

1969:At 27 years old, Madigan is elected as 13th Ward committeeman in Chicago.

1970:Madigan is elected to a state office for the first time as a delegate to the state's constructional convention.

1971:Madigan becomes the state representative for the 22nd Illinois House District on Chicago's South Side near Midway Airport.

1972:His friend Vincent Getzendanner joins Madigan to found a law firm, Madigan and Getzendanner, which is known for handling property law.

1976:Madigan marriesShirley Murray, who has a daughter named Lisa. Lisa was elected Illinois attorney general in 2003.

1998:Madigan is elected chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois.

2003:Rod Blagojevich, a Democrat, is sworn in as governor. Blagojevich and Madigan fought bitterly over budgets and rarely got along.

2011:Madigan leads a historic effort to raise Illinois' income tax rate from 3.25% to 5%, the largest increase in state history. Democrats and Gov. Pat Quinn hoped it would alleviate pressure on the budget.

2013:The Chicago Tribune reports Madigan used his influence to secure patronage hiring at the Chicago area's commuter train agency, Metra.

2015:Fierce fights with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner resulted in Illinois failing to pass a budget by the beginning of the new fiscal year on July 1. Illinois would go over two years without a budget.

2016:Madigan's personal lawyer, Michael Kasper, successfully sues to block an amendment to the state constitution allowing legislative maps to be created by an independent commission, which would have taken power away from Madigan.

2016:Madigan leads a legislative effort to help Exelon, the parent company of Commonwealth Edison, secure funds for two nuclear power plants. The legislation leads to a $2.3 billion rate hike on ComEd customers.

2017:Despite a vetofrom Rauner, the General Assembly passes a budget, ending over two years of negotiations. It includes an income tax increase to 4.95%.

2018:The #MeToo movement enters the state Capitol and Madigan's inner circle. Former state Rep. Lou Lang was accused of inappropriate conduct but later cleared.

February 2018:Madigan fires aide Kevin Quinn after stafferAlaina Hamptonshared messages with the Chicago Tribune describing sexual harassment from Quinn and Madigan's refusal to address the issue. Madigan settled with Hampton for $275,000.

June 2018:Madigan's chief of staff Tim Mapes resigns after allegations of inappropriate conduct toward a co-worker at the state Capitol. Employees of the Capitol, including lawmakers became required to take sexual harassment training at Madigan's direction.

2019:Springfield Bishop Thomas Paprocki bars Madigan, a Catholic, from receiving Holy Communion in the Diocese of Springfield after he supported a bill expanding access to abortion.

2019:FBI agents raid the homes of Madigan's closest political associates, including Mike McClain of Quincy, a former state representative and ComEd lobbyist. His phone was also tapped by the FBI. The FBI's work would eventually result in charges against McClain and others close to Madigan.

Jan. 9, 2020:Madigan declines to open an investigation by the state legislature into an email written in 2012 by McClain that refers to a "rape in Champaign."

July 17, 2020:Energy provider ComEd is hit with bribery charges. Madigan is implicated in the charges as Public Official A, the elected official the company sought to influence in exchange for his support on legislation between 2011 and 2019. Madigan said he was unaware of any attempts to influence him and did not take part in any unethical behavior. The FBI also delivered a grand jury subpoena to Madigan's state capitol office. That day, multiple lawmakers began dropping their support for Madigan's leadership.

Oct. 1, 2020:State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit announces she will run against Madigan for speaker. It's believed to be the first time Madigan faced a serious challenge for the job from a member of his own party.

Nov. 18, 2020:Four of Madigan's close associates Anne Pramaggiore, John Hooker, Michael McClain and Jay Doherty are charged in the ComEd probe.

Rich Miller publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and CapitolFax.com.

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Rich Miller: What is feds' motivation in naming names? - Herald & Review

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June 3rd, 2021 at 1:47 am

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