Spotlight Politics: Federal Probe Circling Closer to Speaker Madigan

The powerful Illinois House speaker is named in a federal subpoena. Our politics team of Paris Schutz, Amanda Vinicky and Carol Marin discuss that and more in this week’s Spotlight Politics.

The FBI has raided homes belonging to the confidants of powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

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The speaker was also secretly recorded by former Chicago Ald. Danny Solis, an FBI mole.

And now an even more direct sign that federal agents are interested in Madigan: His name was on a subpoena served in May to the City Club of Chicago, according to reporting by WBEZ.

(Note: The City Club of Chicago supports WTTW and its TV newsmagazine “Chicago Tonight.”)

The warrant also requested information about utility company ComEd – City Club President Jay Doherty lobbies for the electric utility.

In January, following a Chicago Sun-Times report of his recorded conversation with Solis, Madigan told reporters that he did not believe he was part of a federal probe.

But his spokespeople have not issued a statement in the wake of his being named in a subpoena.

It’s the latest in a string of subpoenas and raids in recent months that have hit state Sen. Marty Sandoval, D-Chicago, as well as a trio of Cook County suburbs and politically connected businessmen.

Madigan, who is not often in the public eye, is due to be in Springfield next week when the General Assembly begins its annual fall veto session.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants lawmakers at that time to advance legislation she’s counting on to fill the city’s $838 million budget hole.

Lighftoot unveiled her budget proposal Wednesday, and warned that a property tax hike is coming unless the state legislature reworks a law authorizing a Chicago casino. She’s also seeking the state’s permission to raise a tax on real estate purchases of high-end homes.

It’s a tricky time for Lighfoot.

Chicago teachers have been on strike since Oct. 17, and Chicago Public Schools has already canceled Thursday classes – the sixth day students have been without instruction.

The city’s police chief is also under siege, from local Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 leadership, who on Wednesday issued a vote of no confidence in him.

An FOP spokesman would give no comment as to why.

But in a statement, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson referenced his decision to boycott a speech next week by President Donald Trump at the annual national police chief’s conference which is meeting in Chicago.

“While today’s decision is from the Board and not the active FOP membership, I understand and respect that the Lodge is upset about the decision to not stand with the president. As police officers, our job is to be the voice for the voiceless and ambassadors to the communities that we serve. I can’t in good conscience stand by while racial insults and hatred are cast from the oval office, or Chicago is held hostage because of our views on New Americans,” Johnson said in a statement.

Follow us on Twitter: @wttw | @paschutz@AmandaVinicky @CarolMarin

Related stories:

Lightfoot: No Property Tax Hike If Springfield Chips In

Striking CPS Teachers, Staff Take Message to City Hall

What the Feds Were Searching for When they Raided Sandoval’s Office

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