ILLINOIS (IRN) — The Illinois House committee investigating if Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s actions in a bribery scheme were unbecoming of a lawmaker won’t hold a hearing on Thursday as scheduled.
Committee chairman state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, issued a statement Wednesday morning that the hearing he scheduled to happen after the election would be postponed.
“The Committee is currently awaiting documents requested from ComEd, which the company
has indicated they are working to provide within the coming weeks,” Welch said.
ComEd entered a deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors over the summer and testified in September at the last public hearing it paid $1.3 million in bribes for Madigan associates to influence the speaker.
Welch announced Wednesday the postponement of the hearing is also out of caution over spreading COVID-19, especially if substantive testimony isn’t coming from Fidel Marquez, who Welch said “declined to participate in this Committee’s work, further limiting what business the Committee can conduct without document,” he wrote.
Marquez pleaded guilty in September to taking part in the scheme, the same day the House committee held its second hearing where ComEd revealed more names that could shed light on the scheme.
“Once members have received and reviewed ComEd’s documents, we will promptly reconvene with the appropriate safety measures in place,” Welch said.
Committee minority spokesman state Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, said he was disappointed by the decision. He said they could still take action to get answers from key witnesses.
“There still remains an outstanding issue which is the issuance of subpoenas to many of the key witnesses, the key people who can offer insight into what happened and the further details about the deferred prosecution agreement,” Demmer said.
“The committee should not simply hear from people who are voluntarily testifying, we’re conducting an investigation and part of an investigation is compelling people to come forward to provide information so we can make an informed and complete decision,” Demmer said.
The committee could forward charges that Madigan’s actions were unbecoming of a lawmaker to another panel who could recommend the whole House punish Madigan. The speaker has denied any wrongdoing.