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Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, Majority leader Barbara Flynn Currie on Blagojevich impeachment. Transcript

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Courtesy Federal News Service...

PRESS CONFERENCE WITH ILLINOIS HOUSE OF REP.S SPEAKER MIKE MADIGAN (D)
SUBJECT: PROCEEDINGS OF THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE WITH REGARD TO THE CASE OF ILLINOIS GOVERNOR ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D)

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
1:01 P.M. EST, MONDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2008

SPEAKER MADIGAN: (In progress.) However, my record of opposition to the governor and to the governor's policies and programs will not stand in the way of this committee, affording to the governor all of his constitutional rights under the federal and state constitution, rights such as due process, equal protection under the law and the right to confront witnesses and to cross-examine those witnesses.

There shall be 12 Democrats on the committee, nine Republicans. Given the gravity of the subject matter before the committee, all of the Democratic appointments will enjoy senior status in the House, which means that all of them will have served for at least six terms. Said differently, we will not have anyone appointed as Democrats unless they have six terms.

Representative Barbara Currie will serve as the chair of the committee. My counsel, David Ellis, will serve as counsel to the committee. Justice Alan Greiman will serve as special counsel to the speaker on this subject.

We're going to ask the committee to begin work tomorrow and work every day except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day until they have rendered a judgment and have put themselves in a position to file a report of their activities.

Questions?

Q Mr. Speaker, would you talk to us a little bit about this process of how you came to this conclusion, I mean, was it instantaneous or has this been a process of real debate within yourself?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: As I said, you're very aware of my record here in the legislature over two to six years of standing in opposition to Governor Blagojevich. I know the gentleman very well. I know his record in office. At the same time, I treat today's action as a very significant governmental action of the gravest consideration, and so I'm not going to be one who is going to rush to judgment about the possible impeachment of a sitting governor of the State of Illinois. Consequently, we have given the governor six days to resign. President-elect Obama, Senator Durbin, all of the state constitutional officers have called for his resignation.

He's declined to take the opportunity to resign. I think it's time that we move forward with the appointment of a committee of inquiry that could lead to impeachment.

Q Mr. Speaker, what do you foresee as the timetable for this? For example, when do you expect to report back a decision of a vote, an impeachment vote at a trial should it go that far? What's the rough timetable? And the second question, how does it relate to the motion filed before the Supreme Court by the attorney general on Friday?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Well, number one, it does not relate to the motion before the Supreme Court at all. This matter will proceed on its own track. As I said, we're going to ask the committee to meet every day except four. To fully answer your question, we need to know what will be the reaction of the governor. Will the governor actively appear before the committee himself or through an agent? Will they actively contest matters put before the committee? We have no idea what the answer to that question will be. And the answer to that question would pretty well answer your question how long would this take.

Q Mr. Speaker, there seems to be no constitutional standard or coming to terms of impeaching a governor. By what standard will you and the committee deem whether or not the governor warrants impeachment?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: The committee itself will establish that standard, and you're correct. There is no standard in the Illinois constitution.

Q (Off mike.) recommend impeachment to the full House --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: That would be my expectation that the committee would conduct its hearings, do its deliberations and then file a report with the clerk of the House. That report could call for impeachment. It could call for not impeaching the governor.

Q Have you spoken with the governor and asked him to resign?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: No, I have not, and I have not called upon the governor to resign because, in effect, I will be presiding over this impeachment inquiry.

Q (Off mike)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I'm saying that, in effect, I will be presiding over the impeachment inquiry, and therefore, I'll have nothing to say as to whether I think he should resign or not.

Q So do you believe this satisfies what appears to be growing public sentiment and sentiment among legislators, both Republicans and Democrats, that you act and act quickly? This appears to be putting off, putting this off perhaps a bit longer than many people had desired.

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I think that this action is reflective. I think this action is reflective of the desires of probably a majority of people in the House, probably a majority of people in the state, providing as I said that the governor will be accorded full rights under the federal and the state constitution.

Q (Off mike.)

MS. ANDREA MITCHELL: Mike Madigan, the House speaker in Illinois announcing that he is creating a bipartisan impeachment committee.

MR. MADIGAN (Joined in progress.): So number one, beginning tomorrow, we shall proceed.

As I said, the governor has a right to appear before the committee himself. He has a right to send an agent to represent him before the committee.

Concerning the transition from one general assembly to another, our plan is to provide for that on the opening day of the next session of the general assembly, which I believe is January 15th where we will adopt a resolution on that day that will provide that the work of this general assembly will be carried over into the next general assembly.

Q (Off mike.)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Well, let me just say that we plan to proceed without delay. The governor is in a position to take actions that he deems appropriate for himself, and then the committee will react.

Q (Off mike.)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Yes, sir?

Q (Off mike.)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Let's do it this way. We plan to proceed. We will have evidence available that we'll be into the record before the committee. We'll ask for the cooperation of the Office of the United States Attorney and our desire would be that that office would give us whatever information they would deem appropriate to give us for the purpose of the committee hearing.

Q Can you characterize any of the other information (off mike.)?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Abuse of power. Abuse of power. The many instances where the governor took governmental action without authority of the legislature, took governmental action without an appropriation bill having been adopted, instances where he ignored directives from the legislature.

Q Were you close to this doing before the U.S. attorney did this? Was it in your mind based on those other factors?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: We've been reviewing grounds for impeachment for about a year.

Q (Off mike.) Mr. Speaker --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Well, as I said, I think that all of that will come out before the committee. I'll simply decline going that direction today.

Q (Off mike.) Sooner with impeachment --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: No. As I said, we've reviewed impeachment for about a year and we never came to a judgment that impeachment was appropriate until the events of six days ago.

Q What specifically changed that given -- innocent until proven guilty? What do you think you can prove now to go forward with impeachment that you couldn't have done six months ago?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: That would depend upon our ability to gather evidence and to get evidence into the record. So remember what I said. We're going to follow the constitutions, federal and state, due process, equal protection under the law, the right to confront witnesses and cross-examine witnesses and please understand that what we are doing is preparing for a trial in the Senate. And so we're going to proceed with all due speed, but we're going to make sure that what we do is done correctly.

Q: (Off mike.)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: That will be a judgment for the committee.

Q Is there anything that you've done here relate to the successor of President-elect Obama? Anything that you've done here deal with that issue or are you going to deal with that separately? Or are you going to deal with that separately?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: We're going to take that up in our House Democratic Caucus this afternoon.

Q Is it accurate to say that the grounds for impeachment are going to be, for the most part, that precede what happened six days ago?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I think that depends upon what matters are brought before the committee.

Q (Off mike.) What's the allegations against the governor relate to campaign contributions of pay to play? You were a co-chair of his campaign two years ago, does that create a conflict, a potential for conflict of interest?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I don't think so.

Q Why?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I just don't think so.

Q (Off mike.) Mr. Speaker, can you discuss how presiding over an impeachment will affect your position on special election --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I don't think I understand your question.

Q (Off mike.)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I really don't know and I won't know until I go into the caucus meeting.

Q (Off mike.)So you were considering an impeachment of Governor Blagojevich --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: We were considering an impeachment of Governor Blagojevich because of the convictions in the federal court in Chicago.

Q (Off mike.)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: We plan to take up the question of a special election in our House caucus this afternoon.

Q (Off mike.) What's your position on that if I may ask? Would you like to see one?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I don't have a position.

Q (Off mike.) Do you think that the threat of impeachment will force him to resign?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: That could happen.

Q (Off mike.) Just a few months ago -- work together?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Well, we had a very lengthy discussion of what you're talking about at the end of the last session and I know you understand how the Illinois constitution works and, therefore, you know that budget making is a three part process. There's the House, there's the Senate, there's the governor's office. In recent years, its been done a little differently because of the one bill process, but as contemplated by those that drafted the constitution in 1970 and as exercised and executed over 15 to 20 years, why, the two chambers and the governor's office are involved in a series of give and take that spreads out over several months and that's what happened in this instance. And I don't think that you should ignore the extraordinary conditions that existed in Illinois government because of the complete cooperation by Senator Jones and Governor Blagojevich.

Q (Off mike.) 76 page complaint -- what were some of the things that really struck at you?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Well, I've had an opportunity to get to know Mr. Blagojevich over six years, and so I was not surprised.

Q By nothing?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: No.

Q The state government is continuing to function, you know, grants are being paid. Can the state government function with this impeachment process going on? What is the effect on the vendors?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: We're moving ahead with the impeachment inquiry, and state government will be required to function as best it can. Better that this were not occurring, but it's going to occur. And so all of those involved in state government, agency heads, employees, members of the legislature, will be called upon to do their best.

Q (Off mike.) What's your position on whether her arguments will stand at the Supreme Court?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I have no comment on the petition of the attorney general before the Supreme Court.

I don't think it's appropriate for me as a lawyer to be commenting on that matter before the court. I've notified the attorney general. I notified the lieutenant governor last night of today's action.

Yes, sir?

Q (Off mike.)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Not proceedings. We thought about it. We studied it from a legal perspective.

Q (Off mike.) And spare yourself --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Well, as I said, I don't think it's appropriate for me as the presiding officer of the House where, in effect, I'm presiding over the impeachment inquiry, which is in the nature of a grand jury proceeding to be commenting on whether he should resign or not.

There are plenty of leading Democrats. You can start with the elected President of the United States that's called for his resignation and there are many others.

Q (Off mike.) You have more --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Except you.

Q (Off mike.)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Because there's too many people that don't want to learn the lesson that's delivered in the federal court from time to time and they may be well advised to learn that lesson.

Q (Off mike.) On the time table issue --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: We can't give you a specific answer.

Q (Off mike.) How quickly, how long -- if he doesn't cooperate, if he does cooperate, what's the quickest, what's the longest it might take?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: If he does not appear personally or through an agent, it will greatly shorten the proceedings of the committee. If he appears personally or through an agent, it will lengthen the proceedings of the committee. I can tell you.

Q By saying that they will work except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, do you envision no report by the committee before next year?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I just have no idea.

Q Can I ask you a procedural question?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Yes.

Q (Off mike.)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Room 114.

Q (Off mike.) Last most of every day?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Correct. Right.

Q (Off mike.) Part of the impeachment process?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: No.

Q Can you elaborate about that at this point?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: No.

Q (Off mike.) Mr. Speaker, if someone wishes to testify as a member of the -- allowed to?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: We're going to follow a procedure that was used previously in an impeachment inquiry here in the House. We're going to call upon people who expressed the desire to testify before the committee to give us an offer of proof as to what they plan to testify to.

Q Would you expect the state to provide legal representation to the governor before this committee?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I think it's up to the governor to decide how he wishes to proceed, whether he wishes to be represented by in house counsel, whether he wishes to be represented by outside counsel. It's all his decision.

Q (Off mike.) Mr. Speaker, you said that you were not surprised -- Senate selection. At what point in the last six years did you begin to form a negative opinion of the governor? And if you could --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: You must be from out of town. It started a long time ago.

Q (Off mike.) Did you have any indication that the Senate seat --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: No. No.

Q (Off mike.) About the extent of --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: That's correct.

Q (Off mike.) If you don't find any of these allegations surprising, obviously, you've known him for four years.

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Well, what I'm saying is from the person that I know, I'm not surprised at anything he does. Now, that covers a broad range, okay. So you've been here. You've observed what we've worked our way through and so in light of what we've all seen, you've been here just as much as I've been here, how could anyone be surprised?

Q What about Mrs. Blagojevich and her profanity and her involvement in a lot of policy discussions that were on the tape? Did that surprise you in any way?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: No comment.

Q What about when, Mr. Speaker, and Governor Blagojevich was a representative in the House, did you have a good relationship with him then or any relationship at all?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: We were fine. He was only here a short time.

Q (Off mike.) You've got a committee set for 3:30 this afternoon --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Which committee is that?

Q State elections.

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Right. So that will be a subject matter before the caucus.

Q Will the resolution on that committee be voted on today in the House or tomorrow?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Today. There will be a resolution today.

Q (Off mike.) If Lieutenant Governor Quinn were to become governor, how that might impact the relations that have been poisonous, how it might impact the ability of the state to pass a capital bill.

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I think that Governor Quinn would take a completely different approach to working with the legislature than Governor Blagojevich has and, therefore, there would be great improvement in relations between the two departments of government.

Q (Off mike.) Is that money that's well spent?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Well, that's the judgment that the legislature will make.

Q (Off mike.) What will be voted on today?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: A resolution creating the committee on inquiry and giving authority to that committee to do things such as issuing subpoenas, compelling the production of documents.

Q (Off mike.)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: That'll be before the House Caucus later this afternoon.

Q (Off mike.)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Correct. Correct.

Q (Off mike.) The governor might sign a special election bill. Would that surprise you?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Haven't we spent a lot of time talking about surprises.

Q (Off mike.)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Again, it's going to be before the caucus this afternoon.

Q Are you concerned, Mr. Speaker --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Well, we're concerned. Someone asked a legitimate question, a good question and it concerns the validity of the work of the impeachment committee. It concerns the validity of the work of the impeachment committee during this session of the general assembly once we get into the next session. And so we are concerned about the ability to carry over the work and the work product of the committee from one general assembly to the next, and we're going to provide for that on opening day January 15th.

Q (Off mike.)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I'm not going to get to the first part of your question. I will simply say that he has people that work in the governor's office today, they're lawyers. He's the one that's the subject of the impeachment inquiry and he's still in the position to direct those people that represent him before the committee.

Q (Off mike.) was there any discussion --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I talked with Mr. Cross this morning on the telephone. I simply advised him as to what we plan to do today and how we plan to proceed. Our interest is in moving forward with the inquiry. I expect that Mr. Cross and the Republicans will be fully cooperative with the inquiry.

Q (Off mike.)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I can't say that I knew that he was under intense scrutiny at the time.

Q Is that a yes?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I don't know what it is.

Q (Off mike.) What are your feelings on just making sure that the House does this right? And how much within your caucus or in the House itself is there an emotional angst if that's the word about what you have to do to remove this governor, to go through this whole impeachment process?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I think that's the reason why I'm so adamant that he'll be given all of his rights under the federal and the state constitutions, and so we are going to move with all deliberate speed, but we're not going to trample anybody's constitutional rights in the process.

Q Do you have any idea how much this process may cost?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: For my part, it will be paid out of the ordinary House budget.

Q Mr. Speaker, tens of thousands?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I have no idea.

Q: (Off mike.) A lot of people are still trying to figure this out.

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I view this as a test of the governmental structure of Illinois, which is pretty similar to the federal governmental structure. So when the constitution was drafted in 1970, it provided for the ability of the legislature beginning in the House to impeach the sitting governor. And so my view is that the constitution gives that authority. We've reviewed that authority for quite a while. We've never found ourselves in a position where we prepared to move forward until today and that's how we shall proceed.

I expect that the governmental structure provided for in the constitution will work and work well.

Q Do you feel, Mr. Speaker, if Mr. Blagojevich goes to prison, he will be the second Illinois governor in a row. Do you think that these are the quirks of these individual leaders? Or does the Illinois state government need to address more powerfully its ethical standards?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I would repeat what I said earlier. Everybody involved in government should just take a lesson from what's happened to Governor Blagojevich and what happened to Governor Ryan and to others. There are rules in place. There are laws in place and everybody is well advised to follow those rules and those laws, and if they don't, there are consequences and we read about those consequences just about every day of the week.

Q (Off mike.) Illinois becoming the fodder of late night comedians and comedy shows and the laughingstock of the nation -- how does that make you feel?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Well, it makes me feel that we ought to move as quickly as possible to correct our problems and to get ourselves on a track where we can do what we're supposed to do for the people of the State of Illinois, provide them with the services that they want, but as I said, with all due speed, providing for constitutional protections.

Q (Off mike.) There are some who feel that the governor has made decisions that negatively impact them by -- do you think that he can continue to make decisions for better or for worse? And if so, how do you --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Well, I think it will be a mixed bag, but I think that he'll be proceeding with much more caution right now.

Q (Off mike.)Are you concerned though that if he signs legislation that somehow be --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Oh, sure, it might be tainted, but I think that there are people at the federal building in Chicago that will learn very quickly about it, if they don't know about it already.

Q (Off mike.) Saturday night live.

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I did. (Laughter.) What's the next question?

Q (Off mike.) and you're looking at rough times, of course, next year. How does this interrupt or sideline, especially that you guys would prefer to be working on numbers.

SPEAKER MADIGAN: It makes it much more difficult, and quite obviously, there is the possibility that this impeachment inquiry will overshadow the entire session and that's a reason why I want the committee to move as quickly as possible, providing for constitutional protections so that we can move beyond it.

We have a budget to adopt. We have many other serious matters before the legislature to consider and that's why we're all well advised to resolve this as quickly as possible.

Q Just a question, Mr. Speaker, do you think that this gives impetus to campaign finance contributions?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: That could happen.

Q (Off mike.)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I'm interested in good government, right, and I would never try to get a reporter for The Chicago Tribune fired.

MS. FLYNN CURRIE: Just to say 10 o'clock tomorrow morning in 114, we look forward to seeing you all there.

Q (Off mike.) How do you reconcile the timetable tomorrow when you still have legislative business --

MS. FLYNN CURRIE: Well, we'll see if we have legislative business in the House tomorrow.

Q Special election bill -- you have to deal with that.

MS. FLYNN CURRIE: And we will if that happens, but as the speaker said, we're on hold at the moment on that issue, and I think that what was really important that you heard from the speaker is that this is not a kangaroo court. This is a committee that is going to take its responsibilities seriously. It isn't just about Governor Blagojevich. What we do in this committee sets precedent for issues that arise later for problems that other governmental actors may face in the future, and it is absolutely critical that we do this deliberatively that we don't rush to judgment, that we don't say because the public is clamoring for his head, we should take the head first and do the trial later.

So I think it's real important just that we understand that due process, fair procedures, a real opportunity for the governor to respond is definitely what we will be about.

SPEAKER MADIGAN: That would depend upon our ability to gather evidence and to get evidence into the record. So remember what I said. We're going to follow the constitutions, federal and state, due process, equal protection under the law, the right to confront witnesses and cross-examine witnesses and please understand that what we are doing is preparing for a trial in the Senate. And so we're going to proceed with all due speed, but we're going to make sure that what we do is done correctly.

Q (Off mike.) Any testimony from (off mike).

SPEAKER MADIGAN: That will be a judgment for the committee.

Q Is there anything that you've done here, Mr. Speaker, relate to the successor of President-elect Obama? Anything you've done here to deal with that issue? Or are you going to deal with that separately? Or are you going to deal with that separately?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: We're going to take that up in our House Democratic Caucus this afternoon.

Q Mr. Speaker, is it accurate to say that the grounds for impeachment (off mike) that precedes six days ago?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I expect that the governmental structure provided for in the constitution will work and work well.

Q Do you feel, Mr. Speaker, if Mr. Blagojevich goes to prison, he will be the second Illinois governor in a row, do you think that these are the quirks of these individual leaders or does the Illinois state government need to address more powerfully its ethical standards?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I would repeat what I said earlier. Everybody involved in government should just take a lesson from what's happened to Governor Blagojevich and what happened to Governor Ryan and to others. There are rules in place. There are laws in place and everybody is well advised to follow those rules and those laws, and if they don't, there are consequences and we read about those consequences just about every day of the week.

Q (Off mike.) Illinois becoming the fodder of late night comedians and comedy shows and the laughingstock of the nation -- how does that make you feel?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Well, it makes me feel that we ought to move as quickly as possible to correct our problems and to get ourselves on a track where we can do what we're supposed to do for the people of the State of Illinois, provide them with the services that they want, but as I said, with all due speed, providing for constitutional protections.

Q (Off mike.) There are some who feel that the governor has made decisions that negatively impact them by -- do you think that he can continue to make decisions for better or for worse? And if so, how do you --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Well, I think it will be a mixed bag, but I think that he'll be proceeding with much more caution right now.

Q (Off mike.)Are you concerned though that if he signs legislation that somehow be --

SPEAKER MADIGAN: Oh, sure, it might be tainted, but I think that there are people at the federal building in Chicago that will learn very quickly about it, if they don't know about it already.

Q (Off mike.) Saturday night live.

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I did. (Laughter.) What's the next question?

Q (Off mike.) and you're looking at rough times, of course, next year. How does this interrupt or sideline, especially that you guys would prefer to be working on numbers.

SPEAKER MADIGAN: It makes it much more difficult, and quite obviously, there is the possibility that this impeachment inquiry will overshadow the entire session and that's a reason why I want the committee to move as quickly as possible, providing for constitutional protections so that we can move beyond it.

We have a budget to adopt. We have many other serious matters before the legislature to consider and that's why we're all well advised to resolve this as quickly as possible.

Q Just a question, Mr. Speaker, do you think that this gives impetus to campaign finance contributions?

SPEAKER MADIGAN: That could happen.

Q (Off mike.)

SPEAKER MADIGAN: I'm interested in good government, right, and I would never try to get a reporter for The Chicago Tribune fired.

BARBARA FLYNN CURRIE (Chairperson, Special Committee on Impeachment): Just to say 10 o'clock tomorrow morning in 114, we look forward to seeing you all there.

Q (Off mike.) How do you reconcile the timetable tomorrow when you still have legislative business --

MS. FLYNN CURRIE: Well, we'll see if we have legislative business in the House tomorrow.

Q Special election bill -- you have to deal with that.

MS. FLYNN CURRIE: And we will if that happens, but as the speaker said, we're on hold at the moment on that issue, and I think that what was really important that you heard from the speaker is that this is not a kangaroo court. This is a committee that is going to take its responsibilities seriously. It isn't just about Governor Blagojevich. What we do in this committee sets precedent for issues that arise later for problems that other governmental actors may face in the future, and it is absolutely critical that we do this deliberatively that we don't rush to judgment, that we don't say because the public is clamoring for his head, we should take the head first and do the trial later.

So I think it's real important just that we understand that due process, fair procedures, a real opportunity for the governor to respond is definitely what we will be about.

Q (Off mike.)

MS. FLYNN CURRIE: I don't know. I think the important thing is we don't know at this point how much information we're going to have with the committee to delve into. If we don't get a lot of cooperation from the United States Attorney's Office, we may not have so much stuff that we're at it for all those days barring Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

So we can't, at this point, answer the question how long it's going to take. My recollection is that we were maybe about six weeks looking into the impeachment inquiry about Justice Heiple, but remember, he did have representation. He had a defendant in the proceedings.

Q (Off mike.)

MS. FLYNN CURRIE: Well, we'll be spelling it out and I think that we have -- common sense and precedent will guide us in figuring out what kinds of things are appropriate for us to look into.

Q How much of a hindrance would it be if Patrick Fitzgerald said if he did not plan to cooperate --

MS. FLYNN CURRIE: It would mean, I think, we'd have less material, less stuff to go into a hearing than we otherwise would. We're hopeful we'll get some help from him and we will see how that develops.

Q Are you participating --

MS. FLYNN CURRIE: In fact, we're going to invite people to come appear as witnesses and we will see whether people want to come forward.

Q Does the committee have subpoena powers?

MS. FLYNN CURRIE: I believe we will. Yes. Yes. We may.

Q Ms. Currie, will your committee have subpoena powers?

MS. FLYNN CURRIE: I believe the resolution will give us that power. Whether we will use it and how we use it is still a question to be determined by the committee, and my understanding is that the other members of the committee will be named this afternoon.

Q Will you compel witnesses, Barbara?

MS. FLYNN CURRIE: That's what a subpoena power would give us, the opportunity to compel witnesses, whether we use the authority would be a question for the committee. Whether we want to compel is another question entirely.

Q (Off mike.)

MS. FLYNN CURRIE: We're going to be speaking to the United States Attorney very shortly.

END.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 16, 2008 10:25 AM.

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