CHICAGO (CBS) — Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was indicted on Wednesday on federal racketeering charges, culminating in a nearly two-year saga that began when the federal government announced in 2020 that ComEd officials would were engaged in a years-long corruption scheme aimed at influencing Madigan.
Madigan, 79, is charged with 22 counts of running a criminal enterprise, to enhance the political power and financial well-being of Madigan himself and his allies, the indictment says. .
READ MORE: Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan charged with federal racketeering
Although this is the first time he has faced federal charges, it has been clear for nearly two years that he is being targeted by federal investigators.
In July 2020, federal prosecutors announced a deferred prosecution agreement with ComEd, in which the energy giant admitted that it had sought to influence “Official A” – identified at the time as the chairman of the Illinois House of Representatives without using Madigan’s name — organizing for his allies and people who did political work for him to secure ComEd jobs, contracts and payments between 2011 and 2019.
Madigan, once widely considered Illinois’ most powerful politician, was not charged with a crime at the time, but U.S. Attorney John Lausch suggested the investigation was far from over at that time, and the affair led to Madigan’s eventual downfall as president and leader. of the Illinois Democratic Party, as Madigan resigned both of his positions, as well as his state representative seat, in early 2021 under mounting pressure from fellow Democrats.
Prior to his resignation, he was the longest-serving Speaker of the State House in U.S. history, while also serving as the longtime leader of the state’s Democratic Party.
In the case against ComEd, the federal government said ComEd admitted to trying to influence legislation regarding the regulatory process that determines the rates it is allowed to charge customers for electricity. ComEd has acknowledged that it will benefit more than $150 million from this legislation.
According to court documents in that case, Madigan and a close friend who served as a lobbyist and consultant for ComEd sought jobs, contracts and payments from ComEd for various associates, such as precinct captains who operated in the District of ‘speaker. The feds said Madigan’s friend and another ComEd lobbyist hatched a plan to get money for two of the speaker’s associates by having ComEd pay them as contractors to the owner. of a ComEd consultant between 2011 and 2019, even though these associates did little or nothing. to work.
Payments to Madigan associates between 2011 and 2019 amounted to approximately $1,324,500 and “were intended to influence and reward Public Official A in the advancement and passage of favorable legislation to ComEd in the Illinois General Assembly,” according to prosecutors.
ComEd also arranged for another Madigan partner to be appointed to the company’s board and agreed to retain the services of a specific law firm, both at the request of the speaker. As part of the program, ComEd also agreed to organize internships for students who lived in the Madigan neighborhood.
ComEd agreed to pay a $200 million fine as part of the deferred prosecution agreement with the federal government.
In the months that followed, the ComEd and Madigan scandal only escalated, with former ComEd executive Fidel Marquez pleading guilty to federal bribery charges, admitting he helped give jobs away. , contracts and payments to Madigan allies in an effort to influence legislation beneficial to the utility giant.
According to his plea deal, between 2012 and 2019, Marquez conspired with other ComEd executives and lobbyists to funnel jobs, contracts and money to Madigan allies, in an effort to gain the president’s support. for legislation that would benefit ComEd.
According to court documents, Marquez helped route a $37,500 payment to a public limited company, “a substantial portion of which was for associates of [Madigan].”
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Two months later, former ComEd lobbyist and Madigan confidant Michael McClain, former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, former ComEd vice president and later lobbyist John Hooker, and former ComEd consultant Jay Doherty were indicted in November 2020 on charges accusing them of conspiring to curry favor with Madigan.
The indictment accused the four of using their influence to reward Madigan for around eight years from 2011.
The indictment claims the four defendants conspired to influence and reward the speaker by arranging jobs and contracts for his political allies and workers. The jobs sometimes involved little or no work, according to federal authorities.
The defendants were also accused of creating false contracts, invoices and other documents to conceal some of the payments and circumvent ComEd’s internal controls, the US attorney’s office said.
In addition, the defendants were accused of having made other efforts to try to influence Madigan, including asking ComEd to retain a law firm favored by the speaker and accepting a number of students from the Chicago City Department’s official in the ComEd internship program, prosecutors mentioned.
Pramaggiore and McClain were also accused of working to get someone appointed to ComEd’s board at the behest of the speaker and McClain.
Months later, in May 2021, Madigan’s former chief of staff, Timothy Mapes, was indicted for making false statements to a grand jury investigating allegations of public corruption.
The indictment claims a federal grand jury was investigating the efforts of Madigan and a person working on his behalf – who was not named in the indictment, but it has been suggested that it was about longtime Madigan confidant Michael McClain – to secure private jobs, contracts and payments for others from ComEd and to influence and reward Madigan.
On March 24, 2021, Mapes was granted immunity to testify before the grand jury. Any testimony he provided would not be used by him in a criminal case unless he made a false statement or committed perjury.
Prosecutors said a week later, Mapes actually made false statements to that grand jury about a McClain consultant’s relationship with Madigan from 2017 to 2019.
Mapes denied knowing that the consultant had acted as an agent or performed work for Madigan during those years, although he knew the consultant had done so, according to the indictment.
The grand jury claimed that Mapes attempted to “obstruct, influence and corruptly obstruct” the investigation.
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With Madigan himself facing federal indictment, he also joins many other high-profile Illinois politicians to be charged with federal corruption, including four of the last 11 governors and dozens of aldermen from Chicago.