Madigan Invites Probe Into Metra Involvement
By The Associated Press, with addtional reporting from Illinois Public Radio
The latest person to call for an investigation into Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s dealings with Metra rail agency - is House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Madigan has written a letter to the Legislative Ethics Commission inviting it to investigate him for seeking a pay raise for a political ally at the Metra rail agency.
The commission is already working with the state's inspector general on the possibility of conducting a joint investigation.
Madigan has acknowledged recommending a pay raise last year for Patrick Ward, a contributor to campaigns benefiting the speaker. Ward was working as a labor relations specialist for Metra at the time, but later resigned.
Metra ousted CEO Alex Clifford has alleged interference by at least three state legislators, including Madigan, who he said tried to get Metra to give one of his campaign foot-soldiers a raise.
Clifford testified he doesn’t believe Madigan’s conduct was illegal.
“I think it is a moral and ethical … character flaw, personality flaw," he said. "And again, it was my belief that as long as I did not close that loop that the illegal activity would not take place.”
But Metra is considering hiring former federal prosecutor Patrick Collins to investigate the allegations of political pressure.
Madigan said in Friday's letter he does not believe his actions violated any law or ethical rule. He is pledging to cooperate.