Madigan joked about ComEd bribes while in office

Madigan joked about ComEd bribes while in office

FBI recordings revealed new details about indicted former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and his scheme to exchange political favors for patronage appointments. He made a joke out of it.

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was caught on a wiretapped phone call with lobbyist Michael McClain discussing how to get a political ally appointed to the Commonwealth Edison board of directors.

McClain assured Madigan that if the ComEd position didn’t work out, they could find other work for former Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority CEO Juan Ochoa with equal compensation.

When Madigan heard he could set up Ochoa with a part-time job still paying $78,000, he joked, “Maybe I’ll take the appointment.”

McClain allegedly said appointing Ochoa to the board faced pushback because he twice went bankrupt. Ochoa formerly ran MPEA, the public corporation that owns Navy Pier and McCormick Place and is commonly known as McPier.

McClain and Madigan spoke again on May 16, 2018, where Madigan urged McClain to keep pushing despite Ochoa’s financial history. Madigan said if his only issue “is that he suffers from bankruptcy twice, so did Harry Truman.”

Ochoa eventually joined the board in April 2019, but it’s not the only new allegation coming to light about the 22-count Madigan bribery and corruption indictment.

The new FBI affidavit also alleges Madigan and McClain arranged secret payments to Kevin Quinn, a Madigan consultant who was fired following the Alaina Hampton sexual harassment scandal. The brother of Ald. Marty Quinn sent over 70 suggestive texts to campaign volunteer Hampton, who said she went public after Madigan failed to act.

In another wiretapped phone call, McClain told Madigan he had “four or five people together” who would pay Quinn monthly for a six-month period until he could find a new job.

When the investigation made finding work difficult, McClain sought help from other lobbyists on behalf of Madigan, according to court documents.

“And he [Madigan] doesn’t do it very often, but, you know, about every few years, he’s got somebody that he’s gotta take care of for a month or two, right?” McClain said, referring to Quinn.

Madigan declined to comment on the affidavit. He has denied involvement in a scheme exchanging political favors for jobs and cash for his political cronies.

Corruption costs Illinois’ economy an estimated $556 million every year.

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