Federal investigators are now involved in an email scandal that has ensnared two former West Central Illinois officials. As part of their sprawling public corruption probe, federal prosecutors in Chicago are now scrutinizing a 2012 email sent by Quincy lobbyist Michael McClain to the Quinn Administration to aid in a discipline hearing for former Illinois Department of Corrections official Forest Ashby, according to Chicago radio station WBEZ. Ashby is a former top employee at West Central Correctional Center in Mt. Sterling and part of administration at the Department of Human Services detention facility in Rushville. Ashby is also a resident of Quincy.
According to anonymous WBEZ sources, federal investigators are interested in several aspects of the email, including the mention of the rape in Champaign and the apparent reference to ghost payrollers. The Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Illinois State Police, the Illinois Attorney General’s office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois are all conducting their own investigation into the email, as well.
This is the latest development in a long-ranging dragnet by federal investigators probing Commonweath Edison’s lobbying practices in the state.