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Friday, July 17, 2020

What's Bill Barr Been Up To?

Sometimes it seems everybody expects AG Barr to be micromanaging everything to do with DoJ: Why isn't this case being prosecuted on my time table, why hasn't this person been fired yet, why isn't Barr teliing about that other investigation, etc.

Yesterday, we saw Barr giving a major speech on China and our Tech/Media complex. Imagine how much of his time is absorbed staying up to date on those matters and the possibility of antitrust action!

Now here's a breaking story that illustrates one of the many things that is sure to draw Barr's attention and, in some degree, involvement. For those of you who aren't familiar with Chicago/Illinois politics, Speaker of the IL House Mike Madigan has, for many years, been considered to be the most powerful politician in Illinois. At any level.

We've been hearing about this investigation for years now--I can tell you that it was ongoing in one form or another when I was still working. Now Bill Barr is AG, and something is happening that could possibly transform politics in one of the most reliably Blue states in the country--a state that does make a difference in national politics. There's a reason why this didn't happen when Obama was still in the White House, and there's probably a reason why it didn't happen until Barr became AG:

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- ComEd will pay $200 million to end a federal criminal investigation into a years-long bribery scheme, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting. 
In doing so, ComEd admits it arranged jobs, subcontracts and pay-offs for associates of “a high-level elected official for the state of Illinois,” the U.S. Attorney’s office announced Friday. 
That person is identified as “Public Official A” in a press release that implicates House Speaker Michael Madigan, according to the Sun-Times. 
“Public Official A controlled what measures were called for a vote in the Illinois House of Representatives and exerted substantial influence over fellow lawmakers concerning legislation affecting ComEd,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a news release.

One assumes this is really just the beginning of a new stage in a long running investigation. That $200 million and the attendant admissions is a down payment on future cooperation. High level people in ComEd will be called upon to testify against the Dem machine's very top levels.

Did I mention that Obama came up through this machine? That he was groomed for high office by that machine? IL Senator Dick Durbin is also part of that machine.
OK, here's some more detail--updating the breaking story.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed Friday a one-count criminal information in U.S. District Court in Chicago charging ComEd with briberyUnder the agreement, the government will defer prosecution on the charge for three years and then seek to dismiss it if ComEd abides by certain conditions, including continuing to cooperate with ongoing investigations of individuals or other entities related to the conduct described in the bribery charge.

It's hard to describe how potentially huge this is. Count on it--Barr will be all over this case, and anyone expecting those ComEd folks to get patty cake treatment hasn't been paying attention to Barr's career.

ComEd’s admissions regarding the charged conduct are contained in a Statement of Facts attached to the deferred prosecution agreement.  ComEd admitted that its efforts to influence and reward the high-level elected official – identified in the Statement of Facts as “Public Official A” – began in or around 2011 and continued through in or around 2019. 
... 
In addition to the monetary penalty and obligation to continue cooperating with government investigations, ComEd’s obligations under the deferred prosecution agreement include enhancing its compliance program and providing annual reports to the government regarding remediation and implementation of its compliance measures, the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a news release.  If ComEd fails to completely perform or fulfill each of its obligations under the agreement during the three-year term, the U.S. Attorney’s Office can initiate prosecution of the charged offense. 

Note that "Investigations" is the plural of investigation.

Meanwhile, Madigan’s allies have been circled by the feds.

Don't hold your breath. This is ongoing, but this agreement probably would not have been finalized and made public if the USA and FBI weren't ready to take further steps fairly soon. Anyone who thinks Bill Barr is twiddling his thumbs back at Main Justice, please reconsider.

27 comments:

  1. ComEd is a utility company (I had to Google that). Wow on the bribery charges, and the company agreement to pay.

    My take is basically a utility company does whatever the state tells it to do, since the incentives are set in the rate structure the state creates/controls. This is why California Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), did not do basic maintenance.

    I wonder how about Boeing, which moved from Seattle to Chicago.

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    1. 'Investigations' is plural. The Feds have flipped some insiders and now ... is the sky the limit?

      Breaking hold of the Dems over a major city and a major source of electoral votes would be huge. It's hard to emphasize how important it is for a corrupt party to have unquestioned control over a state like that (despite its tailspin) in terms of allocating resources for a general election.

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    2. Sounds good, but, as I've posted here before, a problem Barr likely has is, that, the closer it gets to the election, such perps as ComEd have ever-more *incentive* to stay mostly mum, and gamble that a (now more likely) Biden win will end the whole probe.

      If they stay mostly mum, and Biden loses, they, at worst, face long jail sentences.
      If Biden wins, they walk, within days of him taking office.
      Whereas, if they sing, and Biden wins, the luckier ones figure to end up wearing *Cement Overcoats*.
      (Only if they sing, and Biden loses, are they fine.
      That's a rather low percentage gamble.)

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    3. American CardiganJuly 17, 2020 at 7:08 PM

      My backyard. ComEd basically paid paid Speaker Madigan to determine which legislation could be represented as i understand this. As speaker he controls the docket and with that comes favoritism essentially. There will be more WLS AM 890 includes Walgreens amongst others here locally who received similar treatment.

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  2. Mike Madigan's daughter Lisa was the Illinois Attorney General. Wonder if she'll get caught up in this?

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    1. American CardiganJuly 17, 2020 at 7:23 PM

      Doubtful. Lisa ran a pretty squeaky clean operation knowing her father was speaker. Her problem was she never accomplished anything of substance nor could as she would face resistance from Democrat if she was trying to be more centrist or labeled as an insider of aligned with her fathers cronies. She was frozen. Tough position to be in and we all suffered from it.

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  3. This may even reach into the Illinois court system. Remember how Obama's opponent in his US Senate race (Jack Ryan) had his sealed divorce proceedings illicitly leaked to the press just in time to ruin his campaign?

    According to Wikipedia: "His [Ryan's] 2004 campaign for the Senate, against Barack Obama, received widespread media attention for the disclosure of sealed custody documents stemming from his divorce from actress Jeri Ryan. The unsealing of those documents, detailing allegations that Ryan had pressured his wife to perform sexual acts in public, led to Ryan's withdrawal from the campaign."

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    1. Yes, that was considered a pretty unprecedented ruling. Also, they had to redraw some district boundaries to get Obama elected--he got trounced his first try.

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  4. Madigan getting prosecuted would be a godsend. A bit like prosecuting NY's Assembly Speaker Silver after 20 years. Though Madigan's control and influence looks to have been far more comprehensive than Silver's.

    Though it seems worth speculating that Silver was prosecuted by SDNY USA Preet Bharara--clearing the way for Gov. Cuomo to dominate Albany politics, where the Assembly Speaker has much influence. It's not as if Silver's habits and tactics were any mystery in Albany and statewide.

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    1. Yeah, a case like this prosecuted by a GOP DoJ could blow IL politics wide open.

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  5. I wonder...

    I bet Rod Blagojevich knows where all the bodies are buried.

    And he may have a BIT of a grudge.

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    1. Yes he does. And the Feds may have been talking to him about ... stuff. He may be damaged goods as a witness, but that could depend on circs.

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    2. For example:

      https://chicago.suntimes.com/politics/2020/2/20/21146072/pritzer-blagojevich-corruption-clemency-budget-reforms

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    3. American CardiganJuly 17, 2020 at 7:09 PM

      Nope Rods been marginalized here.

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  6. Pritzker hits Madigan as embattled speaker denies misconduct
    The pressure is building on the longtime Democratic House leader as federal agents subpoena his offices.


    https://www.chicagobusiness.com/greg-hinz-politics/pritzker-hits-madigan-embattled-speaker-denies-misconduct

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    1. As of a year ago, Pritzker and his wife were under fed investigation for a property tax fraud scheme. Dunno the status.

      The Pritzkers were the ones who bankrolled Obama's rise.

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    2. American CardiganJuly 17, 2020 at 7:11 PM

      Pritzkers on record now saying Madigan has to resign IF found guilty.

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    3. Yeah, Pritzker quote sounds a little like Captain Louis Renault's shock at gambling in Rick's Cafe Americain!

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    4. American CardiganJuly 17, 2020 at 7:13 PM

      Pritzker got past the “house has no working toilets” therefore uninhabitable lowered property tax assessment scheme already.

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  7. The political future of House Speaker Mike Madigan is more in jeopardy this afternoon as Springfield insiders, led by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, began to question his longevity given his implication in a Commonwealth Edison bribery scandal and as Madigan confirmed his offices have been subpoenaed by federal agents.

    “The speaker has a lot to answer for—to authorities, to investigators and most importantly to the people of Illinois,” Pritzker said at an unrelated event today.

    “I am deeply troubled, and frankly I’m furious with what is being reported,” Pritzker said, referring to a deferred prosecution deal in which ComEd confessed to passing financial and other favors to close associates of the speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.

    Added Pritzker, if the allegations are true, “there is no question he will have betrayed the public trust and must resign.”


    Moved on too soon. This is an excerpt from the article linked in my last Reply above.

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  8. Local Chicago NPR station has apparently been interested in this investigation and the Madigan connection for some time:

    https://www.wbez.org/stories/comed-avoids-prosecution-in-sprawling-corruption-probe-over-its-springfield-lobbying-activities/67133f96-6dc0-4e62-81cf-a9ebc6edad9c

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    1. "Sprawling corruption probe." LOL. This IS Illinois, or, more properly, Chicago after all.

      A name that hasn't come up recently, surprisingly, is Eddie Burke. Maybe he's been cooperating.

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    2. American CardiganJuly 17, 2020 at 7:16 PM

      I dunno about Burke. Been very quiet since the Feds are after him too. Plus he does NOT get along with Mayor Lightfoot AND his wife is an Illinois Supreme a court justice. Very complex.

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  9. The continued slow walking was mentioned in the Judicial Watch Press Release, that the big take away seems to be there was a confidential informant, which I don't think is new news - or is this somebody new?

    To me, the continued slow walking is a bigger issue.

    Examples of slow walking include Hillary's Emails, Weiner's laptop, Strzok/ Page Communication.From the Sara Carter article:

    The FBI has only processed emails at a rate of 500 pages per month and has yet to process text messages. At this rate, the production of these communications, which still number around 8,000 pages, would not be completed until at least late 2021.
    Judicial Watch Uncovers Explosive FBI Emails, Appearing To Reference A WH Confidential Informant - Sara Carter

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    1. No, it's not news. Judicial Watch pulls this stuff regularly. Also, re slow walking, slow walking in re Judicial Watch requests is NOT the same thing as slow walking a Bill Barr request. Or order.

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    2. I was hoping you’d say that, Mark

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