Democratic IL House Speaker Madigan implicated in bribery charges; news outlets gloss over party affiliation


CHICAGO, IL – Federal prosecutors have charged Illinois utility company Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) in a years-long bribery scheme involving Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

According to court documents:

“ComEd maintained a continuing interest in advancing legislation in the Illinois General Assembly favorable to its interests, and opposing legislation that was not consistent with its operational and financial success.”

Connecting the dots between ComEd’s lobbying efforts and Madigan, identified as “Speaker of the House of Representatives, Public Official A,” the prosecutors further stated:

“Public Official A was able to exercise control over what measures were called for a vote in the House of Representatives.

“Public Official A also exercised substantial influence and control over fellow lawmakers concerning legislation, including legislation affecting ComEd.”

The charges identify bribes over several years to Madigan as follows:

“Beginning no later than in or around 2011, and continuing through in or around 2019… COMMONWEALTH EDISON COMPANY, defendant herein, corruptly gave, offered, and agreed to give things of value, namely, jobs, vendor subcontracts, and monetary payments associated with these jobs and contracts, for the benefit of Public Official A and Public Official A’s associates, with intent to influence and reward Public Official A. “

The monetary value of such bribes is reportedly around $1,324,500.

ComEd has been able to strike a deal of deferred prosecution with prosecutors, in which the company is to continue to cooperate with authorities and will avoid liability after paying a $200 million fine and undergoing supervision.

JB Pritzker, Democratic Governor of Illinois, said at a press conference that he is “furious with what is being reported.” 

He continued:

The Speaker has a lot that he needs to answer for.  To authorities, to investigators, and most importantly, to the people of Illinois….

“If these allegations of wrongdoing by the Speaker are true, there is no question that he will have betrayed the public trust.  And he must resign, therefore. 

“In the meantime, I urge the Speaker to fully cooperate with the investigation and answer all questions as quickly as possible.”

Lori Lightfoot, Democratic mayor of Chicago, was less adamant about holding Madigan accountable for his actions in the event the accusations prove true.

Regarding calls for the Speaker Madigan to step down, she stated:

“That’s not really for me to say.  As mayor, what I’m really focused on is the conduct of ComEd.”

For his part, Madigan has not been available for comment.  However, a spokesperson has issued a statement proclaiming Madigan’s innocence and emphasizing his cooperation:

“The Speaker has never helped someone find a job with the expectation that the person would not be asked to perform work by their employer, nor did he ever expect to provide anything to a prospective employer if it should choose to hire a person he recommended.

“He has never made a legislative decision with improper motives and has engaged in no wrongdoing here. Any claim to the contrary is unfounded.

“This morning the Speaker accepted subpoenas related to his various offices for documents, asking for, among other things, documents related to possible job recommendations.

“He will cooperate and respond to those requests for documents, which he believes will clearly demonstrate that he has done nothing criminal or improper.”

An interesting facet of these circumstances that has been largely ignored by the reporting media is the Democratic Party affiliation of Speaker Madigan.

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After reviewing news on these proceedings from television media outlets local to Chicago, this author saw that:

  • CBS Chicago mentions Madigan’s party affiliation once in their broadcast video and zero times in their article.
  • ABC7Chicago mentions Madigan’s party affiliation zero times in both videos and article
  • NBC Chicago mentions Madigan’s party affiliation zero times in the article and video
  • Fox2Now identifies Madigan as “D-Chicago” in its caption under its headlining photo, and otherwise does not mention Madigan’s party in the body of the article nor the accompanying video.  The article does mention “Illinois Democrats” connected to criminal investigations.

It’s not like affiliation with the Democratic party holds no significance for Speaker Madigan.

He is the longest serving House Speaker in the U.S., having been in that position for 33 of the last 35 years.

Madigan has also been the Illinois State Democratic Party Chairman since 1998, and has served longer than any other in that position in Illinois history. 

According to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, he is “the only legislative leader in the country to also serve as a party chairman.”

There is a Democrat majority of 74-44 in the Illinois House, and a 40-19 majority in the Senate.

Last year, at least six Democratic officials, some described as “confidants and allies” of Madigan, were raided and/or charged with crimes by federal officials.

Recent studies have shown considerable left-leaning bias in the media, bias that often goes unrecognized.

It would seem that a fair assessment of the ComEd-Madigan situation would include the reach and influence of the powerful Speaker within and among the members of the Democratic party, but evidently media outlets would prefer to gloss over such an affiliation.


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