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FBI Raids State Senator's Capitol Office

federal agents waiting for a ride
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
After removing items from a Senate Democratic office suite in the Capitol, federal agents were briefly delayed as they waited for their SUVs to pull up to the Capitol.

FBI agents raided the Capitol office of Illinois state Sen. Martin A. Sandoval Tuesday morning.

Reporters also saw federal agents in the Democrat's district office on the far west side of Chicago, near Midway Airport, and removing items from his home.

Chicago-based FBI spokesman John Althen refused to confirm the target of the raid or say what it was about.

'All I can say at this point is we are engaged in an authorized law enforcement activity.'

“All I can say at this point is we are engaged in an authorized law enforcement activity. Beyond that, we’ve got no further comment,” Althen said by phone. Asked if agents from Chicago were in the Capitol building, he said “they’re present, yes.”

At least eight men in suits left the Capitol carrying two cardboard boxes, several brown bags labeled “evidence,” and what appeared to be a desktop computer wrapped in plastic. They loaded the items into an SUV and left without speaking to reporters.

Calls to Sandoval's Capitol and district offices were not returned Tuesday. A spokesman for Senate President John Cullerton also declined to comment.

This spring, Sandoval was one of the lead negotiators on Illinois’ new infrastructure plan, worth $45 billion.

He is at least the second Senate Democrat to come under federal scrutiny this year; Sen. Tom Cullerton was indicted in August.

Sandoval has not been charged with a crime. It also remains to be seen whether his case is related to other federal investigations of Illinois politicians. In the past year, they've targeted lobbyists, Chicago aldermen, and at least one other state senator.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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