Democrats and bribery go together like ice cream and cake so it should come as no surprise that a top Democrat official has been caught in a bribery scandal.
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has been nabbed in the bribery scheme with ComEd, Commonwealth Edison, the largest electric utility in Illinois, CBS Chicago reported.
Federal prosecutors have charged the utility company in the scam that lasted a year and involved jobs, contracts, and payments to allies and associates of the Speaker.
ComEd will pay a $200 million fine as part of a deferred prosecution agreement to end the federal probe, admitting it sought to influence “Public Official A” — identified as the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives without using Madigan’s name — by arranging for his allies and people who performed political work for him to obtain jobs, contracts and payments from ComEd between 2011 and 2019.
“ComEd understood that, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, Public Official A was able to exercise control over what measures were called for a vote in the House of Representatives and had substantial influence and control over fellow lawmakers concerning legislation, including legislation that affected ComEd,” the prosecutors said in the court filing.
ComEd faces a single charge of bribery. Madigan, 78, has not been charged with a crime.
Madigan was nowhere to be found on Friday, either at his district office or his Southwest Side home, but a spokesperson confirmed the speaker accepted federal subpoenas for various documents. In a statement Friday afternoon, Madigan spokeswoman Maura Possley said the subpoenas sought “among other things, documents related to possible job recommendations.”
Possley said Madigan will cooperate with the subpoenas, and believes the documents sought will prove “he has done nothing criminal or improper.”
“The Speaker has never helped someone find a job with the expectation that the person would not be asked to perform work by their employer, nor did he ever expect to provide anything to a prospective employer if it should choose to hire a person he recommended. He has never made a legislative decision with improper motives and has engaged in no wrongdoing here. Any claim to the contrary is unfounded,” Possley said.
But Gov. JB Pritzker is not so convinced, and said that if the charges are true “there is no question that he will have betrayed the public trust and he must resign, therefore.”
“I am deeply troubled, and frankly I’m furious with what is being reported,” the governor said. “The speaker has a lot he needs to answer for; to authorities, to investigators, and most importantly to the people of Illinois. These allegations strike at the core of what public service means. It’s a high calling, public service. It’s a high calling, one in which we serve with a sacred trust to put the people first.”
FBI Chicago Special Agent In Charge Emmerson Buie said that the charges show just how far corruption in the government can go.
“If left unchecked, it doesn’t just affect areas most people associate with corruption, but can infiltrate businesses and corporations, and trickle down to the customers those corporations serve,” the agent said.