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Legislative I.G. has financial ties to Madigan, other lawmakers

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The legislative inspector general for the Illinois General Assembly can recommend reprimands for legislators and their staffers for ethical transgressions and can refer cases to prosecutors to consider criminal charges.

But whoever holds the post has no authority to directly sanction lawmakers and needs the approval of the state ethics commission to even launch an investigation.

In April, Tom Homer, then the legislative inspector general, urged legislators to approve boarder powers.

“I feel the IG should be autonomous and not have to obtain permission,” says Homer, who was paid $69,875 last year for investigating allegations of wrongdoing and $38,915 this year before leaving the job June 30.

Since taking the post in 2004 as the state’s first legislative inspector general, Homer uncovered no serious wrongdoing by legislators. He recommended that two legislative staffers be disciplined. And, he says, “Of the 163 official complaints that I looked into, I referred a total of 11 to local or federal law enforcement officials.”

None are known to have resulted in charges.

Updated: August 29, 2014 6:08AM

The Illinois General Assembly’s recently appointed acting legislative inspector general has a resume that includes stints as a state’s attorney, U.S. attorney and top aide to then-Gov. Jim Edgar.

It’s a mix of political and prosecutorial experience that legislators say was key to choosing J. William Roberts for the job. But it also could raise questions about his ability to impartially investigate Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and other legislators to whom he has ties.


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