Committee releases ComEd documents related to Madigan, schedules Dec. 14 hearing

(The Center Square) – Documents spanning over nearly a decade related to the ComEd bribery scheme implicating Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan have been released, and members of a committee investigating the speaker have different takes.

Since entering a deferred prosecution agreement with Commonwealth Edison, federal prosecutors have charged five people in a scheme they say lasted from 2010 through 2019 where the Excelon subsidiary paid $1.3 million in bribes to Madigan associates in an effort to influence the speaker.

Madigan, D-Chicago, has not been charged with a crime and maintains he’s done nothing wrong.

The Illinois House Special Investigating Committee, launched this summer by House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, hasn’t subpoenaed Madigan despite Republican requests, but did request documents from ComEd weeks ago.

Committee chair state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, said in a statement the documents “underlie the deferred prosecution agreement and were previously obtained by federal investigators.”

“It’s clear that a full, honest reading of these documents shows that associates of ComEd assisted with job recommendations for people from both parties, both chambers, and multiple branches of government,” Welch said.

The committee’s minority spokesman had different observations.

“What sticks out is the number of times quote ‘our friend’ is mentioned having asked for something, responded somehow,” said state Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon. “So that the Speaker’s letter saying he couldn’t answer questions about conversations he wasn’t a part of, these documents show he was part of quite a few conversations.”

“Our friend” is widely believed to be Madigan.

“With this information, the committee plans to resume meeting in-person on Monday, December 14, giving members time to take necessary health and safety precautions following the Thanksgiving holiday and return prepared to safely continue the work of the committee,” Welch said.

Demmer said Republicans will continue to push for Madigan to be subpoenaed.

“And hopefully a vote can take place in order to conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation,” Demmer said.

Among the documents included in Wednesday’s release was the subpoena federal investigators sent to Madigan seeking any and all communications and documents between his office and ComEd.

But the federal subpoena didn’t end with communications between the speaker’s office and ComEd.

Federal investigators also sought all documents and communications between the speaker’s office and AT&T, Walgreens and Rush Medical Center.

The feds also sought all documents and communications from Jan. 1, 2018 to present concerning efforts to give, seek, recommend, secure or obtain a benefit for Kevin Quinn, who Madigan was forced to fire from his political operation after allegations of sexual harassment by a campaign worker were made public. The federal investigation uncovered thousands of dollars in payments to Quinn from lobbyists after Quinn was fired, including close Madigan associate Michael McClain.

McClain, who allegedly acted as a gatekeeper between Madigan and ComEd, was indicted last week along with two former ComEd executives on bribery charges.

Agents also sought all documents and communications related to a property located on the northeast corner of Cermak Road and Wentworth Avenue in Chicago referred to by the feds as the “Chinatown parcel.” Earlier this month, See Y. Wong pleaded guilty to wire fraud in an unrelated case. But Wong secretly recorded Madigan and then Ald. Daniel Solis in 2014 during a conversation over the Chinatown properties.

Solis cooperated with the federal government in its investigation of longtime Chicago Ald. Edward M. Burke, who was charged in 2019 with corruption-related crimes.

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