When Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s underlings go clubbing, there’s one club where they won’t go.
Chalk up one more entity that’s been put on ice in the wake of sprawling scandal that threatens to engulf government and politics in Illinois.
No, it’s not an individual — it’s the City Club of Chicago.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has ordered that no one in his administration is to participate in any speaking programs or panels. Pritzker’s edict comes after news reports that FBI targeted the club for a search. The feds were reportedly looking for information on a number of individuals, including Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, in connection with Madigan-associated lobbyists working for Exelon/Commonwealth Edison.
The City Club issued a statement in which it denied being a subject of the federal investigation, saying instead it was merely a conduit of information. But Jay Doherty, an Exelon/ComEd lobbyist and club president, apparently is under federal scrutiny.
Whatever the situation, Pritzker wants nothing to do with it.
This is the second time he’s made his distaste for scandal known and taken steps to separate his administration from anything questionable.
He publicly demanded that Senate President John Cullerton remove state Sen. Martin Sandoval, a Chicago Democrat, from his position as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.
Pritzker’s words came after the feds executed search warrants at Sandoval’s home and offices in connection with alleged payoffs for construction contracts.
After Pritzker spoke out, Sandoval resigned his committee post.
An administration spokeswoman said the governor is cutting ties with the City Club because the institution is under a shadow.
“While questions remain about the City Club’s involvement in the ongoing federal investigation, the administration is recommending state agencies pursue alternative forums to communicate with the public,” the spokeswoman said.
The City Club is a regular stop for the city’s movers and shakers, a place where political wannabes make speeches and try to make friends. It has a reputation of being bipartisan, but closely connected to the power elite.
But not to the power broker who occupies the governor’s mansion, at least not for a while.