Madigan pleads not guilty to corruption charges

Madigan pleads not guilty to corruption charges

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and his co-defendant, Michael McClain, denied all corruption accusations brought against them. Federal prosecutors said Madigan used his position to run a criminal enterprise.

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and his co-defendant, Michael McClain, have pleaded “not guilty” to 23 counts of bribery and other corruption charges.

Prosecutors said Madigan ran a criminal enterprise, politically and financially rewarding himself. Court documents state Madigan netted $2.85 million in illegitimate funds.

In exchange for influence on key legislation, companies such as Commonwealth Edison and AT&T rewarded Madigan with job opportunities for constituents and other Madigan allies.

AT&T agreed to a $23 million fine and ComEd to a $200 million fine after each admitted they participated in Madigan schemes.

But Madigan denies all of it. He claimed jobs were given to his constituents because of good recommendations, not illegal influence.

Neither Madigan nor McClain had to appear in person. The hearing was conducted over the phone. In the eight months since “the Velvet Hammer” was indicted, he hasn’t said a word in court or on the phone.

Illinois labor unions contributed $10 million over 26 years to Madigan-controlled campaign funds. In exchange they got compensation packages that now have Illinois spending over 25% of its budget on pensions and still owing $313 billion in debt to them.

Even though Madigan has been out of office for nearly two years, government union bosses have a new strategy to cement their power, this time in the Illinois Constitution.

Amendment 1 is a proposal at the top of the Nov. 8 ballot that would expand negotiations far beyond traditional wage and benefit issues.

If approved by voters, government unions bosses would have the power to negotiate over a nearly endless array of subjects. They wouldn’t need someone like Madigan: They’d have the Illinois Constitution on their side.

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