Madigan refuses to appear before House committee probing his ComEd bribery scandal involvement

Madigan refuses to appear before House committee probing his ComEd bribery scandal involvement

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan has formally declined an invitation to appear before the Illinois House committee tasked with investigating his involvement in the ComEd scandal.

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan has declined an invitation from the state House special investigative committee to testify about his involvement or innocence in the Commonwealth Edison bribery scandal.

In a letter addressed to the committee, Madigan stated he is “not exercising his Fifth Amendment rights by not appearing before the Committee,” denied any wrongdoing and called allegations of inappropriate conduct a “political stunt.” He also said he was declining the invitation to avoid complicating the federal investigation.

As of Friday, the committee had not received any formal indications of witness cooperation or testimony. In addition to Madigan, the committee received letters declining the invitation to appear from Jay Doherty, former City Club of Chicago president and ComEd lobbyist; Michael McClain, a long-time Madigan confidant and former ComEd lobbyist; former Chicago Ald. Michael R. Zalewski; and Anna Pramaggiore, former CEO of ComEd.

Fidel Marquez, ComEd’s former vice president of governmental affairs, and John Hooker, former ComEd executive turned lobbyist, were also invited to provide testimony to the committee.

“The committee will proceed as scheduled,” said state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, the chairman of the committee that invited the witnesses to a Sept. 29 hearing.

The bipartisan special committee started with a brief hearing Sept. 10 to investigate whether Madigan was involved in behavior unbecoming of a state lawmaker after he was implicated in the federal prosecution agreement ComEd entered. It halted the hearing until it received clarification from federal prosecutors as to whether the hearings would impact the ongoing federal investigation: prosecutors said it would not, and any witnesses could be called as long as the committee did not seek federal investigative documents provided to the witnesses.

In July, federal prosecutors announced ComEd had been charged with a years-long bribery scheme that sought to “influence and reward” Madigan between 2011 and 2019 by arranging for $1.3 million in jobs, contracts and payments to his political cronies. Subpoenas were served seeking information as to Madigan’s involvement with similar schemes involving AT&T and others.

Madigan was not charged as part of the case, but was identified in court documents as “Public Official A.” As part of the deal, ComEd agreed to pay a $200 million fine, admit to seeking Madigan’s help in passing legislation worth more than $150 million to the utility and continue to cooperate with the ongoing federal investigation into public corruption.

State lawmakers from both parties and Democrats from across the state have called for Madigan to immediately resign his positions as House speaker and chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois. Others, such as Pritzker, have made a milder call for him to resign if the allegations are true.

The Madigan corruption probe has complicated Pritzker’s appeal to voters for his “fair tax” on the Nov. 3 ballot. Madigan is the fifth key backer of a progressive tax to face corruption probes as voters are being asked to trust lawmakers with greater power to impose new taxes on retirees and tax hikes of up to 47% on over 100,000 small businesses that create most Illinois jobs.

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