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Comptroller To Senator Under Investigation: 'Step Down'

Susana Mendoza speaks to people attending a women's march outside the Illinois Capitol
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza speaks to a women's march outside the Illinois Capitol in this file photo from April 25, 2017.

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is joining calls for state Sen. Martin Sandoval to step down from his role as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Sandoval has not been charged with a crime, but late last month, federal agents raided his home and government offices. The investigation also involves construction companies and several suburban municipalities within Sandoval’s Senate district on the southeast side of Chicago.

As chairman of the Transportation Committee, Sandoval was intimately involved in passing a $45 billion statewide building plan this spring.

Mendoza says in order to get rid of any “clouds” over the project, it’s time for Sandoval to go.

“I think everybody that serves in this dome, and outside looking in, should be very concerned about these allegations,” Mendoza said. “And he should do the right thing and step aside.”

Asked whether she’s begun reviewing Sandoval’s spending requests, Mendoza said she has not. But she added she’ll be watching infrastructure spending.

“As the office that will be paying the checks for the $45 billion capital plan, we want to make sure we’re doing everything within our power to vet every single one of those, and make sure that they are 100 percent on the up and up and legitimate,” she said.

Mendoza joins Gov. J.B. Pritzker in calling for Sandoval to step down as chairman.

Sandoval has yet to speak publicly about the investigation, and Senate President John Cullerton has resisted calls to remove him.

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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