Former House Speaker Michael Madigan has been indicted on criminal charges as part of an ongoing federal political corruption investigation, sources said.
Madigan is now one of the most significant politicians in Illinois history ever to face criminal charges, despite having left office more than a year ago. The news is the culmination of one of the most significant, expansive public corruption investigations Illinois has seen in years, already leaving an indelible mark on state politics by knocking Madigan out of power in January 2021.
Read the indictment at this link:
The powerful Southwest Side Democrat had held his seat in the state House of Representatives since 1971 and served as speaker for all but two years between 1983 and 2020.
The Chicago Sun-Times first revealed in 2019 that the feds had recorded Madigan as early as 2014 at his private law firm, during a meeting with then-Ald. Danny Solis and a developer hoping to build a hotel in Chinatown. In a 2016 federal court affidavit exclusively obtained by the Sun-Times, an FBI agent alleged that Solis agreed to use his public office to provide “private benefits” to Madigan.
Solis later went on to become a secret government cooperator until his work with the feds was first revealed by the Sun-Times.
Still, it wasn’t until July 2020 that federal prosecutors finally implicated Madigan in a bribery scheme involving ComEd, giving him the moniker “Public Official A.” That development would eventually lead to the end of Madigan’s tenure as the longest-serving state House leader in U.S. history.The feds accused ComEd that month of a brazen, years-long Chicago-style bribery scheme, alleging that Madigan’s associates received $1.3 million over nearly a decade while doing little or no work for ComEd, all while ComEd hoped to land Madigan’s support for legislation in Springfield worth more than $150 million.
Lausch also said there’s more “work ahead of us,” as the investigation remains ongoing.
It’s unclear what the charges will mean for a separate indictment filed in November 2020 that accused McClain and others of trying to sway Madigan in favor of legislation beneficial to ComEd. Also charged in that case are ex-ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, former ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and onetime City Club President Jay Doherty.
They are set for trial Sept. 12.
ComEd was charged with bribery in July 2020, in a case that first implicated Madigan. ComEd agreed to pay a $200 million fine and entered into a so-called deferred-prosecution agreement with Lausch’s office. The three-year deal is already beyond its halfway point.
Similar to the November 2020 indictment of McClain and others, the indictment on Wednesday alleges that Madigan and McClain sought jobs, contracts and money for Madigan’s associates from ComEd between 2011 and 2019 and that Madigan took official action to help ComEd pass favorable legislation.
But it also reveals a new alleged scheme involving Solis in his final weeks as a secret government cooperator. The indictment alleges that Madigan agreed to help Solis land a spot on a state board paying at least $93,926 a year following his retirement from the City Council.
During a meeting Aug. 2, 2018, Madigan allegedly told Solis he would help Solis land the spot by going to Pritzker, who is identified in the indictment as “the future Governor of the State of Illinois.” Madigan allegedly told Solis, “you’d come in as [Pritzker’s] recommendation.”
Madigan allegedly told Solis, “just leave it in my hands” but then also asked Solis to help a relative of Madigan’s, as well as that person’s employer.
Later, on Oct. 26, 2018, after Solis told Madigan that an individual not named in the indictment had agreed to give business to Madigan’s law firm, Madigan allegedly told Solis he would induce the governor to appoint Solis to a state board.
In a Nov. 23, 2018, meeting, Solis told Madigan he would not run for re-election. Madigan allegedly thanked Solis, asked for Solis’ resume and said he wanted to let Pritzker “know what’s coming next.” By then Pritzker was governor-elect.
Madigan allegedly said his communication with Pritzker did not “need to be in writing. I can just verbally tell him.” Madigan and Pritzker then met on Dec. 4, 2018, according to the indictment.
Lausch stressed Wednesday that “there’s no allegation in this indictment against the governor or his staff.” Pritzker spokeswoman Emily Bittner said the governor “does not recall Michael Madigan ever asking him to consider Danny Solis for any position. In addition, the administration has no record of Solis being recommended by Madigan. In addition, he was never vetted, appointed or hired for any role in the administration.”
The Sun-Times revealed Solis was a federal informant seven weeks after the meeting mentioned in the indictment. Two months after that, the Sun-Times also reported on unsuccessful efforts supported by Solis to transfer a Chinatown property from the state to the city to clear the way for a developer’s proposal.
The new indictment alleges that Madigan agreed to help make the transfer happen in exchange for business for his firm. For example, after Solis allegedly told McClain around Dec. 18, 2017, that, “in the past, I have been able to steer some work to Mike, and these guys will do the same thing,” McClain allegedly agreed that Madigan would assist with the parcel’s transfer.
And on March 27, 2018, after Solis told Madigan that a development group would “appreciate it” and send work to Madigan’s firm if Madigan could take care of the parcel’s transfer, Madigan allegedly said, “Okay, alright, very good.”
However, McClain told Solis on Nov. 21, 2018, that a “major hurdle” had come up in the form of petitions from people in the Chinatown business community opposed to the transfer. So two days later, Solis allegedly told Madigan it was best to wait until after the upcoming elections and try to pass the bill in May 2019. Madigan allegedly agreed.
By May 2019, Solis’ cooperation with the feds was well known.