Elgin legislator's home, office searched by federal officials

  • Two Secretary of State police officers walk in the hallway by state Rep. Keith Farnham's Springfield office Friday afternoon.

      Two Secretary of State police officers walk in the hallway by state Rep. Keith Farnham's Springfield office Friday afternoon. Zachary White | Staff Photographer

  • Keith Farnham

    Keith Farnham

Updated 3/14/2014 8:33 PM

Federal officials searched state Rep. Keith Farnham's Elgin legislative office and home Thursday as part of an ongoing investigation, but details about the probe remain unclear.

A search warrant was executed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, but a spokeswoman said she couldn't provide further details.


"No federal search warrant has been executed at Rep. Farnham's Springfield office," agency spokeswoman Gail Montenegro added. "Because the investigation is ongoing, no additional details can be released."

Neither the Elgin Democrat nor a spokesman for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan have returned messages seeking comment.

The federal agency's website describes its activities like this: "HSI investigates immigration crime, human rights violations and human smuggling, smuggling of narcotics, weapons and other types of contraband, financial crimes, cybercrime and export enforcement issues. ICE special agents conduct investigations aimed at protecting critical infrastructure industries that are vulnerable to sabotage, attack or exploitation."

Secretary of State Police officers with a police dog patrolled Friday outside Farnham's Springfield office on the second floor of the Stratton Building, an office building next door to the Illinois Capitol.

A spokesman for Secretary of State Jesse White said federal officials asked for help securing Farnham's Springfield office.

A woman who answered the intercom at Farnham's home on Friday afternoon said he wasn't there and she didn't know when he'd be back.

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Farnham's neighbor Alex Bahena said she didn't notice any unusual activity in the gated, four-unit complex.

"I don't think anyone saw anything. I would have heard about it," Bahena said.

Farnham was not at his legislative office in the Professional Building in downtown Elgin on Friday afternoon, outreach coordinator Elsa Hernandez said.

The office was open for business as usual, she said, declining to comment on the investigation.

"The only thing I can do is take a message on that," she said.

Craig Mason of Mason CPA Tax & Accounting, whose office is down the hall from Farnham's, said he also didn't notice anything out of the ordinary Thursday.


Farnham, a former commercial painter, started in the Illinois House in 2009, defeating Ruth Munson in both 2008 and again for re-election in 2010.

He faces no opponent in Tuesday's primary election, and no Republican has yet filed to run against him in November.

The mandatory economic interest statement Farnham filed with the state last year shows no business interests he's connected to. He reported the Niagara Foundation and the Chicago Turkish American Chamber of Commerce paid for him to go to a trip to Turkey in 2012.

• Daily Herald Staff Writers Zachary White and Elena Ferrarin contributed to this story.

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