Democratic House Speaker Caught In Biggest Scandal In Years

(The Center Square) – Prosecutors indicted former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan on 22 counts of corruption Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney John R. Lausch Jr. announced the charges Tuesday afternoon, connecting Madigan to the nearly decade-long bribery scheme utility Commonwealth Edison admitted to in the summer of 2020.

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The indictment alleges the “Madigan Enterprise” engaged in interstate commerce and constituted an “ongoing organization whose members functioned as a continuing unit for the common purpose of achieving the objectives of the enterprise.”

The indictment also alleges the goals of the enterprise, led by Madigan while using his official office as Representative and Speaker, were to enhance, preserve and exercise Madigan’s political power and financial well-being.

If convicted, Madigan, 79, could spend the rest of his life in prison. The most serious charges, conspiracy and racketeering, carry charges of up to 20 years in prison, Lausch said.

Until January 2021, Madigan was a state representative based out of Legislative District 22 in Chicago. He was the speaker of the House for much of that time. Gov. J.B. Pritzker worked with Madigan for two years of his term in office.

“I have heard accusations over time,” Pritzker said. “I have kept my distance, and very importantly I really have believe and you’ve heard me say it over and over again, i’ve pushed legislation, that we have got to root out people in public office if they have committed acts of corruption.”

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin weighed in on news of his former Democratic counterpart’s indictment.

“Illinois deserves better. This is another chapter in the sad story of corruption that has pervaded every corner of the state that was touched by Mike Madigan and his Democrat enablers and has dismantled true democracy in Illinois,” he said in a statement. “Today, the same Democrats who empowered Madigan are still blocking real ethics reform just like they blocked the Special Investigating Committee that was created to get to the bottom of Madigan’s corrupt activities.”

Having held his statehouse seat for 50 years as of January 2021 and the gavel as speaker of the House for much of that time, Madigan led a legislative body for a longer time than any other in American history.

The Chicago Democrat spent more than $2.7 million for legal work in 2021, most of it after he left office, after being implicated but not charged in a federal corruption probe that continues to make waves in Springfield.

After it became clear he didn’t have the votes, Madigan withdrew his bid in January 2021 to continue as speaker of the Illinois House, a position he held for nearly four decades. Shortly after, on Feb. 18, 2021, he resigned from the state legislature.

The next day, his campaign fund, Friends of Michael J Madigan, spent $2 million with Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, a Chicago-based law firm with more than 700 attorneys around the globe. Last year, Friends of Michael J. Madigan spent 2,771,890.55 with six law firms, according to campaign finance records from Illinois Sunshine.

In 2020, federal prosecutors and Exelon subsidiary ComEd reached a deferred prosecution agreement. As part of the agreement, the utility admitted it paid $1.3 million in jobs and contracts to associates of Madigan over nine years to influence the former House speaker. ComEd also agreed to pay a $200 million fine. Another former ComEd official, Fidel Marquez, pleaded guilty to bribery charges in September 2020.

Prosecutors also indicted Tim Mapes, who served for years under Madigan as the clerk of the Illinois House and as Madigan’s chief of staff, on a charge of lying to a grand jury in May 2021. The indictment alleges Mapes lied to the grand jury when asked about Madigan’s relationship with McClain.

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