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Illinois' Democratic Speaker of the House implicated in massive bribery scandal

Uh oh

U.S. Attorney John Lausch, right, announce a major fine against ComEd for bribery involving Illinois politicians, during a news conference in the courtyard of the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago, Ill. on Friday, July 17, 2020.
Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) has been implicated in a massive bribery scandal involving utility company ComEd, and Illinois' Democratic governor J.B. Pritzker has stated that Madigan "must resign" if the allegations against him are true. Madigan strongly denies any wrongdoing.

Federal prosecutors revealed last week that ComEd had agreed to pay $200 million to resolve the criminal case against them, in which they are accused of having arranged for jobs and vendor contracts for a person identified in charging documents as "public official A" in order to help get rate increases more quickly approved by the Illinois legislature. In the plea documents, ComEd admitted to having effectively bribed this official in exchange for more favorable treatment from the Illinois legislature.

Although Madigan is not mentioned by name in the charging documents, the evidence is overwhelming that Madigan is the target of the investigation, which prosecutors described as "vibrant" and ongoing.

Madigan seemingly confirmed this through a spokesperson on Friday. The spokesperson admitted that Madigan's office had received subpoenas for documents from federal investigators, and vowed, "He will cooperate and respond to those requests for documents, which he believes will clearly demonstrate that he has done nothing criminal or improper."

WBEZ-TV also reported that feds have subpoenaed records from AT&T, Walgreens, Rush University Medical Center and "a host of political operatives and lobbyists," indicating that their investigation into possible corruption in the Illinois legislature is likely much wider than has already been indicated. According to WBEZ, investigators have also subpoenaed record pertaining to Madigan's law firm, "four former state lawmakers, four former or current Chicago alderman and a Chinatown land deal that was a cornerstone of a federal corruption probe that brought down former Ald. Danny Solis."

Commenting on the investigation, Pritzker said, "The speaker has a lot that he needs to answer for to authorities, to investigators, and most importantly, to the people of Illinois."

One last thing…
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