Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan Charged With Racketeering – NBC Chicago
Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is expected to be arraigned on Wednesday, a week after he was charged with bribery and racketeering by federal authorities.
Madigan, who has been one of the nation’s most powerful lawmakers for decades, was charged last Wednesday with a nearly $3 million racketeering and bribery scheme, becoming the most high-profile politician involved in a federal investigation into entrenched government corruption in the state.
Madigan, 79, is charged with 22 counts, according to the indictment obtained by NBC 5. He “accuses Madigan of running a criminal enterprise for nearly a decade whose purpose was to enhance Madigan’s political power and financial well-being while generating revenue for his political allies and associates,” according to a statement. from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois
The maximum sentence associated with the charges against him is 20 years, authorities said at a news conference announcing the indictment.
“The racketeering conspiracy is a maximum of 20 years,” said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois John Lausch. “The tally for wire fraud is 20 years maximum. So there are other charges that have lower potential maximum sentences, but those are the most significant.”
Former NBC 5 political editor Carol Marin called it “the most thorough federal investigation we’ve ever seen come out of the Dirksens.”
Following the announcement of the charges on Tuesday evening, Madigan released the following statement:
“I have never been involved in any criminal activity. The government is trying to criminalize a routine voter service: job referrals. It’s not illegal, and these other charges are also baseless. Throughout my 50 years as a public servant, I have worked for the needs of my constituents, always keeping in mind the high standards required and the trust the public has placed in me. I categorically deny these accusations and proudly look at my time as an elected official, serving the people of Illinois.
Madigan was involved in the bribery scheme in July 2020 when a deferred prosecution agreement with ComEd was revealed. The utility giant has admitted securing jobs, often requiring little or no work, and contracts for associates of the then-president, then only referred to as “Public Officer A”, from 2011 to 2019 for favorable treatment in the regulations. ComEd was to pay $200 million in compensation as part of the deal.
Madigan had previously not been charged in the investigation and described himself as “the target of vicious attacks by people who sought to diminish my many achievements”.
Previously, two former ComEd executives and two consultants, including a longtime associate and confidant of Madigan, were indicted on multiple federal charges related to the alleged scheme to influence Madigan – at the time identified only as “Public Agent A”. — in exchange for legislation favorable to the utility giant, prosecutors say.
The charges against Madigan come nearly a year after he resigned from the state legislature after nearly three decades in office.
Madigan was the longest-serving state House speaker in modern U.S. history and was nicknamed the “velvet hammer” for his insistence on strict party discipline. A host of high-profile politicians, including three governors, were indicted during his tenure, but politicians have long believed the wise Madigan would never be among them.
As a speaker, the ever-confident Madigan tended to ignore the political scandal of the time. A spokeswoman for Madigan last year denied ComEd-related allegations and said Madigan would cooperate with the investigation “which he believes will clearly demonstrate that he did nothing criminal or improper”.
That wasn’t enough for the members of his House Democratic caucus, many of whom weren’t born when Madigan was first inaugurated in 1971. Despite his determination to win a 19th term as president in January , support waned and he was unable to garner the 60 votes needed to retain the gavel. Relegated to the rank and file of the 118-member House, he resigned his seat effective February 28, 2021. He resigned as chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party on February 22.
Madigan’s former chief of staff, Timothy Mapes, was indicted in May for lying under oath to a federal grand jury investigating ComEd. The indictment says Mapes was granted immunity to testify and that his words or evidence cannot be used against him in a criminal case unless he has committed perjury.
Four people, including a Madigan associate, were indicted in November for orchestrating a bribery scheme with ComEd.
Among them was Michael McClain, who served with Madigan in the House in the 1970s and early 1980s before becoming a lobbyist. One of his clients was ComEd.
Other defendants included former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggirore; lobbyist and former ComEd executive John Hooker; and Jay Doherty, consultant and former director of the nonprofit City Club of Chicago.
All have pleaded not guilty.
In addition to jobs and contracts, the defendants were accused of conspiring to get ComEd to hire a law firm favored by Madigan and of accepting students who resided in Madigan’s 13th Ward into ComEd’s internship program. , although some did not meet his requirements, according to the indictment.
Former ComEd executive Fidel Marquez pleaded guilty to bribery in September, agreeing to cooperate with federal prosecutors.