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Former IL Speaker Madigan Charged in Racketeering Probe

Former Illinois House Speaker and chairman of the state Democratic Party Michael Madigan was charged in a federal probe of government corruption in the state, the Associated Press reports. So far, Madigan is the most high-profile politician to be swept up in the case, after charges against many other Democrats. Madigan, who saw three governors charged during his tenure, was long regarded as one of the state's most powerful legislators and was the longest-serving House speaker in modern history. Many believed that he would be insulated from criminal scrutiny, but in 2020, he came under scrutiny for a bribery scheme involving Illinois' largest electric utility, ComEd. At the time, Madigan was not directly named, but it was known that he was "Public Official A" in filings that led to ComEd paying a $200 million settlement.

ComEd was one of several entities that Madigan used for patronage, arranging for payments to his loyalists through company channels, including lobbying fees, contracts, and jobs in exchange for lenient regulatory rules for the utility. The indictment accuses Madigan of illegally steering private legal work to his law firm from companies with matters before the state or the city of Chicago, among other schemes that the government alleges totaled nearly $3 million in ill-begotten funds. Madigan's downfall began when wind of the ComEd kickbacks began to hit the state capitol. As unfoldedthe scandal, he was unable to secure the speaker seat for a 19th term, which prompted his retirement. Now, he faces 22 criminal counts, including racketeering conspiracy, using interstate facilities in aid of bribery, wire fraud and attempted extortion.


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