WOODSTOCK – McHenry County State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi wants an independent attorney to evaluate whether a proposed probe into allegations that he campaigned improperly is worth the taxpayer money.
Bianchi’s staff filed a petition asking a judge to appoint an appellate prosecutor to review former Bianchi secretary Amy Dalby’s request for an investigation. Any special prosecutor appointed for the investigation would be paid using county funds.
Dalby has alleged that Bianchi required her to write political letters, type and copy checks from his campaign fund, and maintain an invitation list to his annual political fundraiser while logging hours as a county employee. Bianchi repeatedly has denied Dalby’s allegations but declined to answer news media questions about the specifics.
In the petition filed Wednesday, Assistant State’s Attorney Cynthia Schaupp argued that her office has a duty to offer advice to the county, but cannot in this situation because of the nature of the allegations.
“The Appellate Prosecutor has previously agreed to represent the interests of the County in this matter at no cost,” Schaupp wrote in her court filings.
“The Appellate Prosecutor could then determine on behalf of the County whether or not to defend/object to Ms. Dalby’s Petition to Appoint a Special Prosecutor on whatever basis they may deem appropriate,” Schaupp wrote.
Judge Maureen McIntyre did not address the request because it was filed as Dalby’s attorney, Wes Pribla, requested that the matter be assigned to a different judge.
The request is similar to a petition filed in a case with Bianchi political rival Dan Regna that is seeking a special investigation into the same allegations of improper campaigning. Regna’s case is next scheduled before McIntyre on July 10.
Pribla questioned the propriety of Bianchi’s staff trying to intervene in requests to investigate him.
“They better be real careful here,” Pribla said. “When they start making this process burdensome and arduous, there’s a question of [whether they are] obstructing justice.”