March 21, 2014. Elgin. An Illinois State Representative resigned from office on Wednesday citing health reasons. Pundits aren’t buying it though and insist the news adds yet another level of mystery and intrigue to the obviously serious situation. Only four days earlier, the same State Rep found his home and local legislative offices being raided by agents from the Dept of Homeland Security.
State Rep Keith Farnham (D-Elgin). Image courtesy of the Chicago Sun Times.
State Rep Keith Farnham (D-Elgin) was first elected to the Illinois State House in 2009. A Democrat from Elgin, he sat on House Committees on Aging, Consumer Protection, Veterans Affairs, Education Reform, among others.
Dept of Homeland Security raid
Exactly one week ago, the Dept of Homeland Security confirmed its agents, along with agents from the Dept of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, raided the home and legislative office in Elgin of State Rep Keith Farnham. The agency said it did not raid the legislator’s Springfield office in the state capitol. But Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s office confirmed that DHS and ICE had requested White secure Farnham’s office there.
Federal authorities would not provide any details or reasons for the action other than provide a statement of confirmation. “Special agents with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations executed federal search warrants at the Elgin office and residence of Illinois Rep. Keith Farnham," Federal ICE official Gail Montenegro announced last Friday.
Adding to the mystery, not a single ranking Democrat in Illinois, including State Rep Farnham himself, would provide any comment addressing the circumstances of the apparently criminal investigation. When local media reached out to the suspected subject of the raid, Farnham would only refer calls to his attorney. His attorney did not return calls. The state’s top Democrat, House Speaker Mike Madigan, also didn’t have any comment regarding the situation.
State Rep Farnham resigns
Only four days after his home and local government offices were raided by DHS and ICE, State Rep Keith Farnham suddenly resigned. The legislator cited health reasons for his decision. But most local political pundits believe the federal raid and investigation may be closer to the truth. Resigning for health reasons to gain judicial leniency is the textbook response to a coming indictment among Illinois Democrats. Just-convicted Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is the most recent example.
“It is with great regret today that I announce my resignation from the office of state representative, effective immediately. I have been battling serious health issues for a number of years and the coming months will require my full attention,” State Rep Farnham announced Wednesday as he submitted his resignation, “The right thing to do for the people of the 43rd District is to make sure they have a dedicated, qualified and full time advocate in our communities and in the State Capitol to represent their needs and concerns every day without distraction or interruption.”
Interesting election scenario
Farnham’s resignation creates a somewhat bizarre scenario in that there are currently no candidates for his office in the coming November General Election. The incumbent State Rep ran unopposed in the Democratic Primary this week. And according to the local Board of Elections, there were no Republican candidates for that office either.
Independents, Greens and Libertarians hold non-taxpayer-funded primaries in Illinois and are nominating their own candidates right now. It’s guaranteed that state Democrats will appoint a replacement to take Rep Farnham’s ballot position. And with a suddenly open and vulnerable seat, the Republicans will more than likely do the same.
Recent Illinois Herald articles: