CHICAGO (The Center Square) – Referring to him as “Public Official A,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office implicated House Speaker Michael Madigan in announcing criminal charges against utility company ComEd.
The utility, which provides power to much of northern Illinois, agreed to pay a fine of $200 million to end a federal criminal investigation into a years-long bribery scheme, federal prosecutors say.
Under the agreement, the federal government will defer charges, but only if ComEd cooperates with ongoing investigations.
In a news release, federal prosecutors refer to an unnamed public official that is described in a way that runs parallel to Madigan.
“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,” they said. “The company admitted that it arranged for jobs and vendor subcontracts for Public Official A’s political allies and workers even in instances where those people performed little or no work that they were purportedly hired by ComEd to perform.”
Madigan’s spokesman was not immediately available for comment.
Madigan is the longest-serving statehouse speaker in the U.S., having served in the position for all but two years since 1983. He also is head of the state Democratic Party.
In addition to ComEd, federal corruption investigations have involved several lawmakers in the past couple years. Former state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Cicero) pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to protect a red-light camera company in January. In October, former state Rep. Luis Arroyo (D-Chicago) was charged with bribing an unnamed state senator. State Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) was charged with embezzling from a labor union. He’s pleaded not guilty and remains in office.
Federal investigators have also looked at local officials, including longtime Chicago Alderman Ed Burke and other elected officials at the municipal level.
Madigan has not been charged.
Reporting by Cole Lauterbach
The Center Square -- formerly known as Watchdog.org and the Illinois News Network -- and their reporters represent 18 states across the United States as the taxpayers' watchdog, exposing the way government really works.
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