The chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield is once against vacant. Governor J.B. Pritzker accepted the resignation of Ray LaHood from the board today after last week’s disclosure that LaHood, while serving as Secretary of Transportation under President Barack Obama, secretly accepted $50,000 from a foreign national, failed to disclose it on federal ethics paperwork, and initially denied he took the money to FBI agents.
The former long-time 18th District Republican Congressman avoided federal prosecution after agreeing to pay a $40,000 fine to the federal government as part of a deal. In documents released by the federal appellate courts, LaHood accepted the money from an associate of Nigerian-Lebanese billionaire Gilbert Chagoury illegally. LaHood also had to repay the loan to Chagoury as part of the deal.
Pritzker spokesperson Emily Bittner told Chicago’s WBEZ that the governor had accepted LaHood’s resignation this morning. Bittner says that LaHood’s federal investigation was not known at the time of his hiring for the ALPLM Board. In a statement released by Pritzker’s office, the governor touted LaHood’s leadership on the board as well as finding the library’s new executive director Christina Shutt. LaHood has not publicly commented since the release of the non-prosecution agreement with the federal government.