IL Democrat Kingpin Mike Madigan Implicated in ComEd Bribery Scheme

Mike Madigan (Ted Schurter/The State Journal-Register via AP, Pool)
Ted Schurter/The State Journal-Register via AP, Pool

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan was implicated Friday in a years-long bribery scheme involving power company ComEd.

Federal prosecutors said ComEd would be fined $200 million for a scheme including bribes in the form of no-show jobs and contracts to associates of “Public Official A,” who is widely understood to be the Speaker.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office identified a high-level elected official, termed “Public Official A,” in a Friday press release. The official was implicated in the electric company’s attempts to sway him by doling out exclusive contracts, and no-show jobs to his friends and associates. However, Madigan is not directly named in any of the public filings thus far.

Still, prosecutors left little doubt about who “public official A” could be.

“Public Official A controlled what measures were called for a vote in the Illinois House of Representatives and exerted substantial influence over fellow lawmakers concerning legislation affecting ComEd,” Friday’s press release stated.

Madigan, who is a Chicago area state representative, has been Speaker of the Illinois House since 1983, with the exception of two years in which Republicans controlled the legislature. He is the longest-serving state house speaker in American history, and is the most powerful Democrat in the state.

He was in charge of setting policy concerning regulating ComEd and approving its rates to customers. He allegedly spearheaded the scheme with ComEd from 2011 to 2019.

The alleged bribery was intended “to influence and reward the official’s efforts to assist ComEd with respect to legislation concerning ComEd and its business,” prosecutors said.

However, despite the findings, the FBI is recommending a “deferred prosecution agreement” that will include a $200 million fine on the utility but will otherwise allow the company to stay free of criminal prosecution as long as its principals cooperate with ongoing investigations, and completes the payment of the fine over the three years prescribed.

“We concluded from the investigation that a small number of senior ComEd employees and outside contractors orchestrated this misconduct, and they no longer work for the company,” Exelon CEO Christopher Crane said in a statement. “Since then, we have taken robust action to aggressively identify and address deficiencies, including enhancing our compliance governance and our lobbying policies to prevent this type of conduct. We apologize for the past conduct that didn’t live up to our own values, and we will ensure this cannot happen again.”

In a Friday press conference, U.S. Attorney John Lausch, Jr. said that the case “speaks volumes about the very nature of the problem of public corruption here in Illinois.”

Still, Lausch noted that there are no other charges for anyone connected to the case at this time. Speaker Madigan is also not being charged, he added.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.

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