Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan implicated in bribery scheme

Democrat Mike Madigan, the speaker of Illinois’ House of Representatives, has been implicated in a bribery scheme that took place over a period of almost a decade, Breitbart reports.

Madigan has been the Illinois House speaker for all but two years since 1983, making him the longest-serving House speaker in American history. He is also the chairman of the state’s Democratic Party. This means, of course, that he has been one of the state’s most powerful politicians for decades, and we know how power tends to corrupt …

What did he do?

While the U.S. Attorney’s complaint references “Public Official A” and does not name Madigan, it specifically noted that “Public Official A is the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and the longest serving member of the House of Representatives.”

From 2011 to 2019, federal prosecutors say that Illinois’ largest electric company, Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd), engaged in a bribery scheme in which they tried to get Madigan to enact favorable legislation by giving his friends and associates exclusive contracts and no-show jobs.

According to the prosecution, the scheme was intended “to influence and reward the official’s efforts to assist ComEd with respect to legislation concerning ComEd and its business.”

Obviously, as Illinois House speaker, Madigan would have had a good amount of control over the policies that related to ComEd.

The penalty

It is being reported that the prosecution in this case — against ComEd — is settling for a “deferred prosecution agreement.”

Basically, this means that ComEd will not face any criminal charges so long as, over the next three years, it pays a $200 million fine and complies with any ongoing investigations.

Here’s Exelon CEO Christopher Crane on the decision to only seek a “deferred prosecution agreement”:

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. 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.

What about Madigan?

As for the consequences that Madigan will face, the jury is still out on that one. According to U.S. Attorney John Laush, Jr., there are no charges for anyone else — including Madigan — at this time.

However, Laush had harsh words for the apparent corruption in Illinois government, saying that the case “speaks volumes about the nature of the very stubborn public corruption problem we have here in Illinois. The admitted facts detail a nearly decade long corruption scheme involving top management at a large public utility, leaders of state government, consultants and several others inside and outside of government. In two words, it’s not good.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), however, has stated that Madigan “must resign” if the allegations against him are true. We’ll have to keep an eye on this one.

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