Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan indicted for federal racketeering

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan indicted for federal racketeering

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has been indicted for racketeering and bribery in a federal corruption probe spanning more than two years.

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was indicted by a federal grand jury March 2 on racketeering and bribery charges. His 36-year tenure as Speaker was the longest of any state house leader in U.S history.

The indictment alleges Madigan orchestrated an illegal bribery scheme with utility company Commonwealth Edison in return for influence over favorable legislation in Springfield.

It also accuses him of soliciting business for his private property tax law firm during a project involving state-owned land used for a commercial development.

The southwest side Democrat served as Democratic party chair for over 20 years and was first mentioned in the federal corruption probe in 2020. He resigned as speaker over a year ago in January 2021. He is 79 and has maintained his innocence.

Madigan faces 22 counts in the federal indictment that accuse him of leading a criminal racket for nearly a decade, trading legislative favors for payments to his cronies. He directed the activities through his close friend and now co-defendant, Michael F. McClain.

“Madigan and McClain allegedly caused various businesses, including the utility company Commonwealth Edison, to make monetary payments to Madigan’s associates as a reward for their loyalty to Madigan, at times in return for performing little or no legitimate work for the businesses,” according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The FBI and other federal agencies spent two years investigating Madigan. The Illinois Policy Institute began intensively documenting how he did business in 2016.

Some of the Illinois Policy Institute’s Madigan research:

Madigan’s rules: How Illinois gives its House speaker power to control and manipulate the legislative process

• Madigan opposition hits critical mass as his confidant, 3 others charged in ComEd bribery scandal

• Madigan suspends campaign for House speaker

• Illinois corruption reforms gain momentum with Madigan gone

• Illinois’ mountain of debt will be Madigan’s fiscal legacy

• Illinois was most corrupt of 10 largest states under Madigan’s reign

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