When a police officer is involved in a shooting, the officer is put on a desk assignment and an outside agency is tasked with investigating the shooting. That arm’s-length, independent look ensures there is no favoritism and that the facts lead where the facts lead.
But in Madison County there is too much smoke to know whether we are seeing an independent investigation of something corrupt or whether a partisan witchhunt is underway as decades of Democratic domination continue their death throes.
The Democratic county prosecutor, State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons, convened something he calls the Madison County Public Corruption Task Force that he said includes state, county and local officers. The county investigators work for the county’s Democratic sheriff.
The task force on Wednesday raided offices held by Republican appointees in the county administration building, seizing computers in the public relations office and county administrator’s office.
Now everything may be perfectly legit and non-partisan. But it sure doesn’t look that way when you investigate other residents of your house.
There are mechanisms to take a corruption probe out of local hands. The Illinois State Police or the FBI seem to be much better avenues for ensuring that this investigation’s integrity remains spotless.
Gibbons may be unwilling to say much right now about what he’s investigating, but at some point he owes the public an explanation as to why he did not hand off this investigation and why he was so woefully unaware of the poor optics of two Democratic officeholders going after the new Republican regime.