ComEd admits to elaborate bribery scheme to pay Madigan associates; Pritzker: Illinois speaker ‘must resign’ if allegations true

State News

Updated at 12:37 p.m. Governor J.B. Pritzker has called for Speaker Michael Madigan to answer to the public, and to resign from public office if the charges listed in a federal corruption case are true. WGN News has confirmed Madigan’s office was served grand jury subpoenas for documents.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — ComEd, the largest utility company in the state, struck a deal with federal prosecutors to pay a fine of $200 million in order to avoid criminal charges in an elaborate bribery scheme that involved secret payments to friends of powerful House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago), court records show.

The court documents say ComEd agreed to disguise payments to Madigan’s political allies as legitimate salaries or through indirect payments as vendor subcontracts in exchange for laws and regulations that would benefit the company’s bottom line.

The records show the corruption went on for eight years from 2011 to 2019. During that same stretch, the state legislature passed two significant laws that determined how much ComEd and its parent company Exelon could charge Illinois residents for electricity.

I am very disturbed that a billion-dollar corporation would engage in this kind of inappropriate activity. I have consistently supported reforms that make our politics more transparent and hold bad actors accountable. When I learned of the news this morning, I donated all of the money my campaign has received from ComEd since 2012 to the Center for Prevention of Abuse, a non-profit that assists the victims of domestic violence that has seen increased calls about domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria)

Madigan’s longtime friend and confidante Mike McClain, a former House Representative who started his career in Springfield with Madigan in the early 1970s, was also named in the documents as “Individual A.” Federal prosecutors say McClain advised a ComEd executive “don’t put anything in writing,” because “all it can do is hurt ya.”

Madigan and McClain “sought to obtain from ComEd jobs, vendor subcontracts, and monetary payments associated with those jobs and subcontracts for various associates,” according to the court documents.

As a part of the deferred prosecution agreement, ComEd acknowledged its role in the scheme, and has offered “substantial cooperation” with the ongoing investigation.

Illinoisans are sadly no strangers to corruption in our state’s politics, but simultaneous federal criminal investigations into both the Speaker of the House and the Governor are truly unprecedented. Today’s developments in the ongoing bribery investigation against Speaker Madigan and the property tax fraud investigation against Governor Pritzker are disturbing. We fully support U.S. Attorney John Lausch and other federal officials in their important work to bring those who violate the public’s trust to justice. The people of Illinois deserve better than Illinois Democrats’ embarrassing, systemic corruption.  

U.S. Reps Darin LaHood, John Shimkus, Adam Kinzinger, Rodney Davis, and Mike Bost

Last fall, Speaker Madigan said he was “not a target of anything” after former House Representative Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) was charged in a bribery case. At the time, ComEd and its lobbyists were already under federal scrutiny. This latest development shows Madigan is, in fact, a target in the federal corruption investigation.

The Speaker’s office has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

Once again, Illinois is in the news not for what it does for the people of this state, but rather for what the politicians in Springfield do for themselves.

Mary Burress, candidate for State Senate

Madigan is the longest tenured Speaker of any state legislature in American history.

To be clear, the Speaker is implicated in criminal acts and federal violations. As these serious allegations are substantiated, the Speaker must resign from office.  If not, the Illinois House must begin the process to remove him from the Illinois General Assembly.  His reign of corruption, quid-pro-quo and self-dealing must end.

State Rep. Ryan Spain (R-Peoria)
Elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1970, Michael Madigan has been Speaker of the Illinois House for all but one two-year term since 1983. He has served in Springfield for one out of every four years of the state’s existence.

Deferred Prosecution Agreement and AttachmentsDownloadComEd Criminal DocumentsDownload

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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