Sneed hears that the federal investigation into Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown’s office is red hot.

Translation: Sneed is told the feds are this/close to questioning Brown as part of their probe into whether jobs and promotions were effectively for sale under her watch.

Sneed also hears that Brown’s chief of staff was summoned to appear before a grand jury Wednesday.

A recent federal indictment alleges that a former high-ranking employee in Brown’s office, Beena Patel, had asked Brown’s chief of staff to help another employee obtain a promotion because that employee’s brother had donated money to Brown’s campaign fund.

When asked whether she told the chief of staff that the employee should be promoted because her brother had “done a lot” for the clerk’s office, Patel said under oath, “No, I would never do that.” The indictment alleges Patel, in fact, knew about the “merit raise” and that she told the employee to “keep mum” and “act surprised” when told about the raise.

Patel has pleaded not guilty to lying to a grand jury.

Another former Brown employee, Sivasubramani Rajaram, was sentenced in February to three years probation after admitting he lied twice to the FBI and bought his job in Brown’s office with a $15,000 “loan” to a company controlled by Brown’s husband.

Neither Brown nor her husband, Benton Cook III, have been accused of any crimes.