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Madigan: Legislative probe into Metra hiring ends with no action

SPRINGFIELD-The legislative inspector general has closed an investigation into allegations of improper hiring practices at Metra and found “no violation of any law,” House Speaker Michael Madigan’s office announced Wednesday.

Last July, the Chicago Democrat invited Legislative Inspector General Thomas Homer to probe whether he had acted improperly in encouraging a pay increase for a Metra employee, who also was a campaign volunteer and donor.

Former Metra CEO Alex Clifford alleged Madigan improperly pushed for the raise for Patrick Ward, which Clifford refused to approve.

Clifford testified in a hearing before the Regional Transportation Authority board last summer that Madigan displayed a “character flaw, both ethically and morally” in pushing for Ward’s raise.

But Madigan’s office released a letter signed by the speaker’s general counsel, Heather Wier Vaught, stating that Homer’s concluded the speaker broke no laws.

“As the ethics officer for the House Democratic caucus, I am writing to advise you that the legislative inspector general has concluded his investigation related to allegations of improper involvement by members of the General Assembly with the hiring practices at Metra,” Vaught said.

“The legislative inspector general found no violation of any law, including the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act,” she said. “As a result, the investigation has been closed.”