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Michael Madigan

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan speaks at a news conference in this 2017 file photo.

John O’Connor

Newsletter: House Speaker Michael Madigan Named In FBI Subpoena

Good afternoon! It’s Monday, and I keep having nightmares that it’s 4 p.m. and I haven’t written this newsletter yet. Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. Feds sought records related to powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan

It seems like every week brings more information about a sprawling federal investigation into political hiring and contracting at Illinois’ largest electric utility, Commonwealth Edison.

WBEZ has learned that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was named in a federal subpoena to a prominent Chicago public affairs organization, the City Club of Chicago. The subpoena named between 10 and 20 people and requested the group’s correspondence with them.

“The revelation marks yet another sign the federal probe is directed at least in part toward Madigan, who is the longest-serving House speaker in American history. He became a state lawmaker in 1971 and has ruled the Illinois House for all but two years since 1983,” report WBEZ’s Dave McKinney and Dan Mihalopoulos. [WBEZ]

2. Chicago property taxes could go up

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Wednesday is expected to unveil her plan to close the city’s enormous $838 million budget shortfall, and the mayor told the Chicago Sun-Times that she will have to raise property taxes if the city doesn’t get some help from state lawmakers.

Lightfoot wants state lawmakers to approve a graduated real estate transfer tax that would apply to commercial property, like downtown office buildings. Lightfoot also wants changes to a state law that allows a Chicago casino after a recent study said developers faced a significant tax burden. Both of Lightfoot’s requests face a tough climb in Springfield. [Chicago Sun-Times]

Meanwhile, Lightfoot will seek to refinance $1.3 billion in city debt to save $200 million. [Chicago Tribune]

And an early heads up: WBEZ will air Lightfoot’s budget address live on Wednesday beginning at 10 a.m.

3. Lightfoot wants teachers strike to end as negotiations continue

It’s Day Three of the Chicago teachers strike, and city officials want teachers to return to classes before negotiators reach an agreement on a new contract.

In a letter to Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey, Mayor Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson wrote: “We ask CTU to stay at the bargaining table and accelerate the pace, but end the strike and encourage your members to come back to work. Our students and families should not continue to bear this burden.”

The CTU rejected the request. Later, a frustrated Lightfoot told reporters she does not know when the strike will end. [WBEZ]

4. It’s expected to be a busy week for the impeachment inquiry

And it started off on a feisty note today. Republicans plan on pushing for a vote to censure House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff for his handling of the inquiry. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi handed out a “fact sheet” on what her office considers the most compelling evidence against President Donald Trump.

The back-and-forth comes as a top official at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine is expected to be deposed tomorrow. That official, Bill Taylor, had raised questions about the White House freezing military aid to Ukraine, calling the move “crazy” in a text message to a U.S. diplomat. [Washington Post]

Meanwhile, Trump backed off from his plan to host the G-7 summit of world leaders at his luxury Miami golf club after facing criticism from his fellow Republicans. [New York Times]

5. Turkish leader wants nuclear weapons

After the U.S. failed to prevent Turkey from attacking Kurdish allies last week, questions are being raised about America’s ability to deter Turkey from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month told his governing party that it was unacceptable for nuclear-armed Western countries to forbid Turkey from brandishing its own nuclear arsenal. [New York Times]

Meanwhile, a video emerged today of residents of a Kurdish-dominated city throwing potatoes at departing U.S. troops in Syria. [AP]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The Trump administration wants to collect DNA samples from asylum-seekers and other migrants. [AP]

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government, giving his political rival the opportunity to do so. [BBC]

  • A last minute settlement was reached in a landmark federal case on the opioid crisis. [NPR]

  • Right now is a good time to plant a tree. [WBEZ]

Oh, and one more thing …

There is a book for kids called Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?, and it answers 35 questions from kids about death. It’s written by mortician Caitlin Doughty, and she tells WBEZ’s Reset that she decided to write the book after talking to adults and kids about dead bodies and whatnot for years.

“It’s a conversation that most of us should have had when we were about eight years old and never did. And the conversation we did have was about zombies or was about murder, was about these really awful deaths,” Doughty says. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

Halloween is almost here. What’s your favorite Halloween memory?

Me? You know how some people leave a bowl of candy outside when they’re not home, and you’re only supposed to take one? Well my brother, dressed as Peter Pan, sat down on the steps of some random house and started eating the candy right out of the bowl.

What’s your favorite Halloween memory? Feel free to email at or tweet me at @whuntah.

Have a nice night! I’ll see you tomorrow. And if you like what you just read, you can subscribe to the newsletter here and have it delivered to your inbox.

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