State legislative watchdog finds no wrongdoing in Buttongate, closes probe
BY DAVE MCKINNEY Sun-Times Springfield bureau chief November 9, 2011 1:52PM
Gov. Pat Quinn. (AP/Seth Perlman, File photo)
Updated: November 9, 2011 5:10PM
SPRINGFIELD — The state’s Buttongate scandal has disappeared about as abruptly as it surfaced.
The Legislature’s ethics watchdog concluded no rules were broken in the way votes were cast last month for missing lawmakers on a utility rate-hike package sought by Commonwealth Edison.
Legislative Inspector General Thomas Homer told the Chicago Sun-Times Wednesday that he informed Gov. Pat Quinn’s office, the legislative leaders and members of the Legislative Ethics Commission about his findings.
“While I’m not able to discuss the particulars, I have no plans to pursue the matter further and consider it closed,” Homer said.
Quinn called for Homer to investigate the “monkey business” behind who cast votes for as many as 18 missing House members when the first of two parts of the utility rate-hike legislation came up for a vote.
That group had been called off the floor for a budget briefing at the time of the Oct. 26 vote, which favored ComEd and represented a major legislative defeat for the governor.
The governor’s office did not criticize Homer’s decision.
“The governor appreciates the work of the inspector general and hopes that the practice will end altogether,” Quinn’s office said in a statement.