CHICAGO — Illinois Sen. Martin Sandoval has resigned from his position as Transportation Committee chairman the same day an unredacted copy of a search warrant was released, and just hours before another resignation.
In a letter addressed to Secretary Tim Anderson Friday, Sandoval (D-Cicero) said, “Pursuant to Senate Rule 3-1(d), effective immediately, I am resigning as Chairperson of the Senate Transportation Committee.”
The 55-year-old state senator did not offer a reason for the resignation.
Sandoval was faced with mounting pressure from Gov. JB Pritzker and several other Democrats. Last week, the governor said Sandoval should give up his leadership roles in the senate, and if he doesn’t, he should be removed.
“We must, we must assure the public this work is on the up and up,” Pritzker said. “Corruption and self-dealing will not be tolerated.”
While Sandoval has resigned from one position, it appears he’s hanging onto his role as majority caucus whip for the Democrats and his chairmanship of the Special Committee On Supplier Diversity.
Also Friday, Berwyn Ald. Cesar Santoy resigned from the Tollway Board after being pressured by the governor. Pritzker appointed him to the Illinois Toll Highway Authority in February.
FBI agents raided the state senator’s offices two weeks ago. Agents carried materials in bankers’ boxes and grocery bags out of the Illinois Capitol building.
Also Friday, reporters obtained unredacted copies of federal search warrants executed in late September and Sandoval’s Springfield and Cicero offices as well his home.
The search warrant showed that the FBI was looking for evidence of federal corruption, including bribery, theft from a federally funded program, mail and wire fraud and interference with commerce by threats or violence.
They also revealed a wide-ranging in investigation into lobbying efforts by ComEd, a red light camera vendor in the suburbs and gambling operators. They also indicate their probe is focusing on several communities in Sandoval’s district including Cicero.
The corruption probe has named politicians like McCook Mayor Jeff Tonolski, State Senator and Bridgeview Mayor Steven Landek and John Harris, who was also former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s chief of staff.
The list of items the FBI took from Sandoval’s Springfield office include computers, cell phones, shredded paper, documents related to his personal businesses, a fundraising spreadsheet and a flash drive with “Landek” written on it.
Sandoval has not been charged with wrongdoing.
Earlier this week, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider told WGN Investigates that he founded it shocking more Democrats hadn’t called on Sandoval to step aside.
“He’s overseeing a $44 billion road construction project, can you imagine that?” Schneider told WGN Tuesday. “This is a guy who the feds just raided his offices two weeks ago.”
While Pritzker had called on Sandoval to relinquish his leadership posts, Illinois Senate Majority Leader John Cullerton stuck with Sandoval.
A Cullerton spokesperson called the allegations against Sandoval “troubling” but said Tuesday Cullerton would “take appropriate action as developments warrant.”
WGN Investigates highlighted many Democrats’ silence on Sandoval in a report Tuesday.
Sandoval has served in the Senate since 2003, representing a district on Chicago’s southwest side.
Landek did not return a call for comment, and neither did the mayor of McCook. Santoy’s attorney told the Chicago Tribune Santoy is not a target of the probe. He said the FBI simply wanted some records, and he is confident the legal concerns will clear up soon.
Exelon sent WGN the following statement:
As previously disclosed, Exelon and ComEd received a grand jury subpoena from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Illinois that required production of information concerning lobbying activities in the State of Illinois. On October 4, the Companies received a second subpoena requiring production of communications between Exelon and ComEd with certain individuals and entities, including Illinois State Senator Martin Sandoval. Exelon and ComEd have cooperated fully with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and intend to continue cooperating fully with any government requests or inquiries. As part of this, in June 2019, the Exelon Board of Directors formed a Special Oversight Committee, comprising solely independent directors and advised by independent outside legal counsel.
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