Democratic chair of House committee investigating Speaker Michael Madigan accuses GOP of ‘wearing two hats,’ says no more meetings until after election

Accusing his Republican counterparts of engaging in “political theater” ahead of the Nov. 3 election, the Democratic chairman of a special Illinois House committee investigating the conduct of longtime Speaker Michael Madigan said Tuesday that the panel won’t meet again until the polls close.



Emanuel Chris Welch et al. looking at a laptop: State Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch addresses issues concerning seclusion in Chicago Public Schools during a meeting of the Illinois State Board of Education at the Thompson Center in Chicago, Nov. 22, 2019.


© Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch addresses issues concerning seclusion in Chicago Public Schools during a meeting of the Illinois State Board of Education at the Thompson Center in Chicago, Nov. 22, 2019.

State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside said in a statement that the three GOP lawmakers on the special investigating committee, formed in response to a petition from House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs, “are wearing two hats.”

“While sitting on a committee that is charged with conducting an impartial investigation based on the petition filed by Leader Durkin, the Republican members of this committee are also engaged in competitive political campaigns in which they have chosen to campaign almost exclusively against the speaker,” Welch said.

Welch took issue in particular with two committee members, Reps. Grant Wehrli of Naperville and Deanne Mazzochi of Elmhurst, participating in a campaign news conference on Monday, “effectively confirming their assumption of guilt and chiding Democratic opponents for not jumping to the same conclusion.”

Wehrli and Mazzochi are both engaged in competitive reelection battles against Democratic challengers who have received sizable campaign contributions from funds tied to Madigan, who also chairs the state Democratic Party.

Republicans have accused Welch of acting in defense of Madigan by blocking a vote last week to issue subpoenas to compel testimony from the powerful Southwest Side Democrat and other witnesses.

Earlier Tuesday, the leading Republican on the committee, Rep. Tom Demmer of Dixon, accused Welch of trying to slow-walk the investigating by requesting “a data dump” from Commonwealth Edison, which is at the center of the investigation

Durkin petitioned for the creation of the rarely used special investigating committee after ComEd in July admitted in a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office that it engaged in a yearslong bribery scheme aimed at currying favor with Madigan.

The only witness to testify before the committee to date, an executive with ComEd parent Exelon, confirmed that, among other actions, the utility paid Madigan associates through third-party companies despite the fact that they did little or no work.

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The committee is tasked with determining whether Madigan should be charged with engaging in “conduct unbecoming to a legislator” and face potential discipline.

While Republicans on the committee sought documents from ComEd pertaining to its communications with Madigan and close associate, Welch has requested a decade’s worth of documents detailing the company’s dealings with the administration of Gov. J.B. Pritzker and his two predecessors and the with current and former leaders of all four caucuses of the General Assembly.



Emanuel Chris Welch wearing a suit and tie: State Rep. Emanuel "Chris" Welch addresses the issues concerning seclusion in Chicago Public Schools at the Thompson Center in Chicago on Nov. 22, 2019.


© Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch

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Illinois House committee investigating Speaker Michael Madigan set to hear testimony from Exelon executive

An executive from Commonwealth Edison parent company Exelon is set to testify Tuesday before a special Illinois House committee investigating Speaker Michael Madigan in connection with a bribery case involving the utility.



a man sitting at a desk looking at a laptop: David Glockner, Exelon s executive vice president for compliance and audit, answers questions at a meeting with the Illinois Commerce Commission in Chicago on July 29, 2020. nn


© Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
David Glockner, Exelon s executive vice president for compliance and audit, answers questions at a meeting with the Illinois Commerce Commission in Chicago on July 29, 2020. nn

The six-member special investigating committee, formed this summer after federal prosecutors alleged ComEd engaged in a “yearslong bribery scheme” aimed at currying favor with Madigan, has become a partisan flash point ahead of the November election.

The panel was formed at the request of House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs to determine whether Madigan engaged in “conduct unbecoming to a legislator” and should face potential discipline. The speaker and the panel’s Democratic chairman, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside, have accused the GOP of political posturing. Republicans accuse Democrats of acting in defense of Madigan, who has not been charged and has denied wrongdoing.

Madigan was one of several witnesses the committee’s three Republicans asked to testify, but all declined the invitation, with the exception of ComEd. Set to testify on the utility’s behalf on Tuesday is David Glockner, Exelon’s executive vice president for compliance and audit.

The six-member panel could subpoena witnesses, but that would require one of three Democrats to vote with the three Republicans to compel testimony. One Democrat also would have to side with Republicans for the special committee to approve a charge against Madigan.

As part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office announced earlier this summer, ComEd agreed to pay a $200 million fine and cooperate with investigators after federal prosecutors alleged in July that the utility offered jobs, contracts and payments to Madigan allies in the hopes of winning support for favorable legislation.

The agreement with federal prosecutors focuses specifically on two major pieces of energy legislation approved in the legislature in the past decade: the 2011 Energy Infrastructure and Modernization Act and the 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act, both of which resulted in major benefits for the state’s largest utility.

In a letter Friday declining the invitation to testify, Madigan argued that “House Democrats won significant concessions, much to the chagrin of ComEd and Exelon, likely costing the companies millions of dollars in profits.”

Seeking to turn the tables on Durkin, Madigan noted the key role the House GOP leader and then-Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner played in negotiating the 2016 legislation, which opponents characterized as a bailout for two Exelon nuclear power plants.

“If Rep. Durkin were to put aside his current political agenda and speak honestly about his experiences with this energy legislation in which he was personally involved, I am certain he would attest that the process of negotiating that bill was bipartisan and his input was likely more valuable than mine,” Madigan wrote.

Following Madigan’s cue, Welch said in a statement Monday that he

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Boston Police investigating attempted rape in Public Garden, seeking public’s help to ID suspect

Boston Police are seeking the public’s help to ID a suspect who allegedly tried to rape a woman in the Public Garden early Monday morning.



a tree in front of a building: BOSTON SUNDAY 0816: Nice for a walk with the kids on a mostly dry but cool and cloudy day, Sunday, August 16, 2020, in Public Garden in Boston. (Jim Michaud / MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)


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BOSTON SUNDAY 0816: Nice for a walk with the kids on a mostly dry but cool and cloudy day, Sunday, August 16, 2020, in Public Garden in Boston. (Jim Michaud / MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Officers from the department’s Sexual Assault Unit responded at about 6 a.m. to a call for an assault with intent to rape in Boston Public Garden.

The victim told detectives that she was walking in the park when a man approached her and placed his hand over her mouth. The man made sexually explicit threats and tried to remove a piece of the woman’s clothing, she told police.

She was able to free herself from the man and get to safety.

The suspect is described as a Black man in his 20s or 30s, with a slim to medium build and short black dreadlocks.

The Boston Police Sexual Assault Unit is investigating and is asking anyone with information to call detectives at 617-343-4400.

People who want to remain anonymous can call the CrimeStoppers Tip Line at 1-800-494-TIPS or text the word ‘TIP’ to CRIME (27463).

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Boston police investigating alleged attempted rape in Public Garden

Boston police are investigating after a man allegedly attempted to sexually assault a woman as she walked in the Public Garden Monday morning, the department said.

Officers assigned to the sex assault unit responded around 6 a.m. to the park for a report of “an assault with attempt to rape,” the department said in a statement.

A woman told police that the man put his hand over her mouth, “while making sexually explicit threats and attempting to remove an article of clothing,” according to the statement.

The woman was able to free herself and run to safety, police said.

The suspect is described as a Black male, in his 20s or 30s, who has a slim to medium bill and short dreadlocks, the statement said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police detectives at 617-343-4400.

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Police investigating after two injured in shooting in Garden City

GARDEN CITY, Ga. (WTOC) – Law enforcement is investigating after two people were shot on Tuesday night in Garden City.



a car parked on the side of the street: The Garden City Police Department is investigating after two people were shot on Tuesday night.


© Provided by Savannah WTOC-TV
The Garden City Police Department is investigating after two people were shot on Tuesday night.

According to a Garden City Police Department lieutenant at the scene, an incident started near 5th Street. One victim was shot in the leg and is expected to be OK. The second victim was shot in the chest.

Police got the call around 7:35 p.m. and found one victim on 6th Street and U.S. 80. They then received another call two blocks away near 5th Street with non-life threatening injuries.

An initial report from a police officer at the scene stated the second victim had died. Later Tuesday night, the Garden City police chief told WTOC that he could not confirm that report.

Garden City Councilman Richard Lassiter was also at the scene earlier and says this year, there have been 17 shootings in his district.

He also says police are doing a great job but the community has to step up.

“We’ve had rallies, we hosted a car parade to stop the gun violence and it’s just frustrating because it’s steadily increasing by the moment you know,” said Councilman Lassiter.

The Garden City chief told WTOC that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been called to assist.

WTOC has a crew on scene and will provide updates as we learn new information.

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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Hillicon Valley: Murky TikTok deal raises questions about China’s role | Twitter investigating automated image previews over apparent algorithmic bias

Welcome to Hillicon Valley, The Hill’s newsletter detailing all you need to know about the tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. If you don’t already, be sure to sign up for our newsletter with this LINK.



a sign on the side of a building: Hillicon Valley: Murky TikTok deal raises questions about China's role | Twitter investigating automated image previews over apparent algorithmic bias | House approves bill making hacking federal voting systems a crime


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Hillicon Valley: Murky TikTok deal raises questions about China’s role | Twitter investigating automated image previews over apparent algorithmic bias | House approves bill making hacking federal voting systems a crime

Welcome! Follow our cyber reporter, Maggie Miller (@magmill95), and tech reporter, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@chrisismills), for more coverage.

TIKTOK TUSSLE: A deal to avert a U.S. ban on TikTok appears to have been reached over the weekend, but several questions remain about the contours of the pending agreement.

The most pressing is what role the short-form video app’s China-based parent company, ByteDance, will have in the newly formed entity TikTok Global.

President Trump suggested Monday that the deal could be in jeopardy if Oracle and Walmart – the two American companies involved in the proposal – do not have full control of the new TikTok.

“And if we find that they don’t have total control, then we’re not going to approve the deal,” he said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”

One of the next steps in the approval process includes a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

Without a term sheet being public, it is difficult to know the exact breakdown of the agreement, which was tentatively approved just before a Commerce Department order would have barred TikTok from appearing in U.S. app stores.

But from what is known, it appears that the deal falls far short of the full-on sale of TikTok to an American company that Trump originally called for in August.

Together, Oracle and Walmart will take only a 20 percent stake in the new company, TikTok said in a statement over the weekend.

According to ByteDance, other U.S.-based TikTok investors like Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic will stay on in the newly formed company, which has an estimated value of between $50 billion and $60 billion.

Even with the financial stakes of four U.S. companies, it is difficult to envision a scenario where ByteDance entirely removes itself from involvement in such a successful video app.

In a statement Monday, ByteDance emphasized it will remain in control of the new TikTok business and, crucially, the recommendation algorithm that makes the platform so popular.

That position was directly contradicted by Oracle executive vice president Ken Glueck, who said Monday that “Americans will be the majority and ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global.”

The discrepancy may be explained by ByteDance’s ownership of TikTok Ltd., a business incorporated in the Cayman Islands that currently owns TikTok’s American operations.

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ALGORITHMIC BIAS TEST CASE: Twitter is investigating the algorithm it uses to crop pictures for its mobile platform after several users pointed out a tendency to zero in on white faces.

Controversy over

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Waffle House investigating wild brawl that allegedly broke out over unpaid tickets and customer’s phone

Waffle House is currently investigating the circumstances behind a wild fight that broke out between employees and customers at an unidentified restaurant.

Footage of the brawl shows at least seven individuals involved in the melee, one of whom loses her top while repeatedly striking a worker in the head.

WARNING: Footage of the brawl contains profane language and nudity. Viewer discretion is advised.

“We’re currently investigating to gather all the facts and details … and to determine what actions need to be taken, if any,” said Njeri Boss, Waffle House’s director of public relations, in a statement to Fox News.

MASKLESS WOMAN HOPS ON KFC COUNTER, DEMANDS CHICKEN AND MASHED POTATOES

Video of the incident was first shared to Twitter on Saturday, where it has since amassed over 4.3 million views. In it, three customers — two female and one male — can be seen arguing with staff at the register, asking them to give the male back his phone, which was allegedly being held behind the counter.

The footage, which is contains profane language and partial nudity, shows at least seven individuals involved in the melee, one of whom loses her top while repeatedly striking a worker in the head.

The footage, which is contains profane language and partial nudity, shows at least seven individuals involved in the melee, one of whom loses her top while repeatedly striking a worker in the head.
(iStock)

“Can I please get my g—d— phone?” the male customer says.

One of the female customers can also be heard saying something about trying to pay, at which point a male employee appears to indicate there was a discrepancy with the group’s tickets.

The male customer then walks around the counter and into the kitchen area, where employees attempt to restrain him. The two women soon follow and join the violent fracas. One of them even rips a landline out of a female employee’s hand, presumably to prevent her from calling the authorities.

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This same woman later loses both her wig and her shirt and is seen punching a female employee while her own breasts are exposed. She also appears to remark that the group has “coke” so they need to leave.

In the background, a male employee has the male customer in a chokehold, while someone from the dining area yells, “Put that boy to sleep!”

The clip ends in the middle of the fight.

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On Monday morning, Boss confirmed to Fox News that Waffle House was only made aware of the incident following an online report (likely this one from The New York Post), and wasn’t even sure yet of the location of the incident.

Viewers, meanwhile, appeared to have more than enough material to begin making endless jokes.

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“You can always count on Waffle House,” wrote the woman who posted the original clip.

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House Republicans investigating California secretary of state’s contract with Biden-linked firm

House Republicans are launching a probe into a $35 million contract the California secretary of state’s office awarded to an advisory firm that is working with Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenCoons beats back progressive Senate primary challenger in Delaware Biden courts veterans amid fallout from Trump military controversies Biden campaign manager touts ‘multiple pathways’ to victory MORE‘s campaign. 

In a letter sent to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) on Wednesday, the GOP lawmakers argued the contract with SKDKnickerbocker for a voter outreach campaign is a conflict of interest due to the firm’s ties to Biden, adding that it runs the risk of using taxpayer funds to promote Democrats in the upcoming election.

“The Committee on Oversight and Reform is conducting oversight of a $35 million contract the California Secretary of State’s office awarded to a pro-Biden consulting firm, SKD Knickerbocker, to ‘produce advertising to encourage voters to participate in the November election,’ ” House Oversight and Reform Committee ranking member James ComerJames (Jamie) R. ComerGOP lawmakers want answers from Disney on Mulan, China Hillicon Valley: Democrats demand answers over Russian interference bulletin | Google Cloud wins defense contract for cancer research | Cyberattack disrupts virtual classes Top Republican accuses Twitter of ‘mismanagement’ of security, employees MORE (R-Ky.), Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations ranking member Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceGOP lawmakers want answers from Disney on Mulan, China QAnon backer Marjorie Taylor Greene wins Georgia GOP runoff QAnon supporter in Georgia heads into tight GOP runoff MORE (R-Ga.) and House Administration Committee ranking member Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisHouse Democrats’ campaign arm releases ads hitting 10 Republicans on health care Lawmakers press CDC for guidance on celebrating Halloween during pandemic DCCC reserves new ad buys in competitive districts, adds new members to ‘Red to Blue’ program MORE (R-Ill.) wrote.

“This contract will undoubtedly provide a partisan firm the opportunity to use taxpayer money to influence the federal election.”

The lawmakers raised concerns about whether the firm will have “access to sensitive voter information” and whether any of the consultants on the Biden campaign will also be working on the project, noting the firm’s managing director is a senior strategist for Biden’s campaign. They also questioned why other firms that don’t have political ties to a candidate weren’t selected for the contract.

“A review of websites of the other two contract finalists shows that neither company appears to have listed publicly any 2020 election political candidate clients. This raises questions about why the contract was awarded to a firm that has such an obvious interest in the outcome of the federal election,” they wrote.

“In fact, being awarded a $35 million contract to contact voters using taxpayer money while publicly advertising its work on behalf of Joe Biden’s campaign for president and employing a senior advisor to his campaign essentially provides a pro-Biden entity the opportunity to conduct get out the vote efforts. Unfortunately, this voter contact operation is being funded by taxpayers.”

The group also

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House Dems investigating Pompeo, wife to face off with senior State Dept. officials

Two House Democratic chairs have been investigating allegations against Pompeo.

Months of tension between House Democrats and the State Department are set to spill out into public display on Wednesday when senior department officials testify about the firing of the agency’s inspector general.

President Donald Trump’s removal of the federal watchdog at the request of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came as the independent office was investigating Pompeo and his wife leading to accusations of retaliation that the Pompeos have denied.

Those accusations were revived on Friday after the House published a transcript of two top Pompeo aides’ closed-door testimony.

The House Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees’ Democratic chairs have been investigating several allegations against the top U.S. diplomat, including his unprecedented speech to the Republican National Convention, his cooperation with a Republican-led Senate investigation of Trump’s opponent Joe Biden and his private dinners at the State Department for elite guests.

Inspector general Steve Linick was fired in May. At the time, Pompeo confirmed he requested to have Linick removed and accused him of leaking or “investigating policies he simply didn’t like.”

Linick’s office was investigating allegations of the Pompeos’ use of career staff to run personal errands, the secretary’s use of an emergency authority to bypass Congress and sell arms to Saudi Arabia, the department rescinding an award to a Finnish journalist who criticized Trump and allegations of “workplace violence” in the Office of the Chief of Protocol.

Pompeo has denied that Linick’s firing was retaliatory — at first saying he was unaware of any investigations and then saying while he answered questions about the arms sale probe, he didn’t know the full scope.

PHOTO: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens during the third annual U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue at the State Dept., Monday, Sept. 14, 2020 in Washington.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens during the third annual U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue at the State Dept., Monday, Sept. 14, 2020 in Washington.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens during the third annual U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue at the State Dept., Monday, Sept. 14, 2020 in Washington.

Stephen Akard, a longtime aide to Vice President Mike Pence who had served as acting inspector general after Linick was fired, told the House committees that “Pompeo was interested in the release of” the OIG’s Saudi arms sale probe, but that he had recused himself from it. As a political appointee who still served as director of State’s Office of Foreign Missions, he wanted to avoid any potential conflicts of interest before resigning in August.

Akard’s sworn affidavit, released by the committee Monday, is the latest participation by a department official in the committee’s probe. Its chair, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., released transcripts Friday from two top Pompeo aides, a longtime confidante Toni Porter and a career official Lisa Kenna, who serves as executive secretary, a key gatekeeper for a secretary of state.

Porter told the committees that she was interviewed two weeks ago by the Office of Inspector General about “misuse of government resources” by Pompeo and his wife Susan

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House Democrats Investigating Louis DeJoy Over Campaign Finance Allegations : NPR

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, shown last month during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, is now under investigation by that committee.

Tom Williams/Pool via AP


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Tom Williams/Pool via AP

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, shown last month during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, is now under investigation by that committee.

Tom Williams/Pool via AP

Updated at 2:06 p.m. ET

House Democrats say they are investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over allegations reported by The Washington Post that he asked employees to donate to certain political candidates and then reimbursed them through bonuses.

“If these allegations are true, Mr. DeJoy could face criminal exposure — not only for his actions in North Carolina, but also for lying to our committee under oath,” House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said in a written statement.

“We will be investigating this issue, but I believe the Board of Governors must take emergency action to immediately suspend Mr. DeJoy, who they never should have selected in the first place,” Maloney added.

DeJoy, a major Republican donor and supporter of President Trump’s, was appointed by the U.S. Postal Service’s board of governors, not confirmed by Congress. He ran afoul of House Democrats after ordering an “operational pivot” within the Postal Service that caused some delays — prompting additional criticism by Democrats who accused him of trying to hurt voting by mail.

DeJoy has defended himself vigorously to congressional and state officials. The Postal Service has been financially underwater for years and is overdue for reform, he argues. And he rejected out of hand the idea that he is Trump’s saboteur in place to hurt voting by mail, which the president criticizes but also uses himself.

State officials who spoke with DeJoy said he’d vowed to them that the Postal Service would handle ballots this year “like gold.”

New allegations

In the Post report published Sunday, multiple former employees of DeJoy’s former company, New Breed Logistics, said they were asked to give money to Republican candidates between 2003 and 2014. Then, according to the report, DeJoy would ensure that the employees who contributed receive extra bonus money.

If those accounts are accurate, the conduct would be illegal under federal law.

“Louis was a national fundraiser for the Republican Party. He asked employees for money. We gave him the money, and then he reciprocated by giving us big bonuses,” David Young, DeJoy’s former director of human resources, told the Post.

NPR has not independently confirmed the Post‘s reporting. It appears to describe what is known as a straw donor scheme, in which a person donates in another’s name to get around individual contribution limits. It’s not illegal for corporations to encourage employees to donate to political candidates.

During an Aug. 24 hearing in the House, DeJoy denied paying back several executives for contributing to Trump’s campaign.

“That’s an outrageous claim, sir, and I resent it,” he said when asked by Rep. Jim Cooper, a Democrat from Tennessee. “The answer

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