Illinois' political scandal just grows and grows, and where it will stop, nobody knows.
The latest victim in the burgeoning political scandal that reaches from Chicago to Springfield is a surprise.
Usually, it’s the politicos who come crashing down to earth. But corporate executives?
That’s a new one — even for Illinois.
But the latest shoe to drop — a high heel this time — came when Exelon Utilities Chief Executive Officer Anne Pramaggiore decided this week to retire, effective immediately. Her departure came shortly after Fidel Marquez, senior vice president at ComEd in charge of government affairs, decided on Oct. 2 that he suddenly needed to pursue other activities, including quality time with his family.
Exelon and ComEd have been featured prominently in federal search warrants, and the powers that be at the utility giant have apparently decided that they’ve got big problems that require immediate action.
That’s why outside independent members of the company’s board of directors, guided by outside counsel, are now running the show as it relates to multiple federal corruption investigations. That’s bad news for Exelon/Comm Ed insiders, who look increasingly compromised and, unfortunately for them, are expendable.
Exelon/Comm Ed is not the only one taking a hard line as the federal investigation metastasizes from Chicago, Cook County and Springfield back to the suburbs.
To his credit, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has moved swiftly to cut any official ties to his administration.
While Senate President John Cullerton was wringing his hands over state Sen. Martin Sandoval’s role as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, the governor swiftly called for Sandoval’s removal. The governor said Sandoval’s status raised unacceptable questions about the state’s $45 billion infrastructure spending plan.
Sandoval finally threw in the towel Oct. 11 on his chairman post, and Illinois is better off for it. If he comes out clean on the federal investigation — a prospect that grows increasingly doubtful with each passing day — Sandoval can be reinstated. But for the time being, Illinois is better off if he’s sidelined.
Pritzker also revoked the appointment of Cesar Santoy, an architect and alderman in Berwyn, as a director of the Illinois Tollway after his name surfaced in the FBI’s Sandoval investigation.
Then on Tuesday, Pritzker pulled the plug on a sale of state land in Tinley Park following news reports linking a developer planning to build a “racino” — a combination race track and casino — with a banking family tied to organized crime.
This is, of course, just a matter of pragmatism and political self-preservation for Pritzker. He cannot afford to be drawn into the muck and mud that is so central to politics and government in this state.
At the same time, other prominent politicians here have in the past not been as concerned about appearances and pending criminal investigations. Sometimes, they are indifferent to them.
Pritzker, obviously, is not, and he’s made it clear that anyone who is compromised for whatever reason will be shunted aside at least until clouds of impropriety have dissipated.