The Crusader Newspaper Group

Once powerful Michael Madigan indicted on federal corruption charges

For 36 years, Michael Madigan reigned as the Illinois House Speaker, but Wesnesday, March 2, shockwaves rippled through Springfield and Chicago when he was indicted for racketeering in an alleged bribery scheme federal prosecutors said lined his personal gain.

Madigan, 79, who served as a state representative for 50 years, continues to profess his innocence and is vowing to fight the federal charges leveled by ComEd officials, who admitted in 2020, they bribed Madigan, who was described by prosecutors as “Public Official A.”

“ComEd bribed Michael Madigan because companies, like ComEd, know that they can profit by bribing governmental officials. State Farm was alleged to have bribed a Supreme Court justice. Governor Blagojevich was allegedly bribed by the horse racing industry for favorable legislation.

“ComEd has admitted to bribing Madigan and has been allowed to keep billions in profits arising from the formula rate legislation and other legislation that ComEd paid Madigan to enact. Politicians will never be beyond reproach.

“The only way to stop companies, like ComEd, from bribing politicians is to remove companies’ profit incentive from being allowed to do so. We believe that our lawsuit—presently pending in the Illinois Court of Appeals—will hold ComEd accountable for its millions of Illinois customers who were economically damaged because of its admitted bribery scheme,” the statement concluded.

In an interview with the Chicago Crusader, Attorneys Stephan Blandin and Adam Levitt explained why Madigan was indicted and what is next in the saga of the ComEd scandal.

When asked how such a powerful man, like Madigan, get indicted, Attorney Blandin explained, “He got indicted because ComEd admitted to bribing him for billions of dollars in profits and he got caught doing it.

“As Speaker of the House, he was in a position of open trust and open power in that chamber, and he was literally the gatekeeper on all legislation, and ComEd by their admittedly criminal conduct knew that the way to get the legislation that it wanted passed was to make sure that Speaker Madigan actually was in their corner.

“He betrayed the public trust” while protecting ComEd’s interests “at the expense of Illinois consumers and ComEd customers, and he did it for his own economic interests,” said Attorney Blandin.

ComEd admitted to paying $1 million used in the bribery scheme to influence Madigan according to lawyers. However, Attorney Blandin said, “If they admitted to that amount, it’s probably much greater.”

Referring to Paragraph 1C, Part 2 of the 106-page indictment and how ComEd knew what it was doing, Attorney Levitt said, “The presiding of the House of Representatives known as the Speaker of the House of Representatives had formal and informal powers, including, but not limited, to the power to appoint members to House Committees that would consider bills introduced into the House, including whether such bills were suitable for consideration by the House as whole; 2. The power to influence the movement within the House; and 3. The power to decide what legislation would be called for a vote; and 4. The power to exercise substantial influence over fellow lawmakers concerning legislation.”

Attorney Levitt added, “That kind of power to let ComEd effectively buy it from him is a problem.” He said ComEd “has admitted as much.”

On the indictment, Attorney Blandin said, “This has been a long time coming based on ComEd’s admissions. It has taken over a year after ComEd’s admitted to bribing Madigan. What is most frustrating for all of us is that the ComEd rate payers are no closer to being compensated the billions they were bilked by ComEd.”

Asked if this is the end of this investigation, Attorney Levitt replied, “Now that he has been indicted, the criminal prosecution will likely occur, but while that is happening, we are co-lead counsel in the class action litigation against ComEd…about the money it improperly received as a result of its admitted bribery of Speaker Madigan.”

Attorney Levitt said that the case is now in the Illinois Court of Appeals where they must explain to the court why this case should proceed to trial to recover wrongful profits or overpayments by the consumers.

Attorney Blandin added, “You are never going to make angels out of politicians. We are trying to prevent large companies to unjustly profit by bribing these politicians. You have to top it at the company level.”

The lawyers said the class-action lawsuit is the remaining recourse for consumers. Attorney Blandin added, “It is the only real way to get anything back by the ComEd rate payers.”

Read More:
Ex-Speaker Madigan indicted on 22 public corruption counts

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