The number one complaint State Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) hears from District residents is Illinois Speaker Mike Madigan. “Illinois has lived with corruption for decades. The edifice of silence the Speaker has surrounded himself with is finally crumbling. There is no better time for action than now,” Mazzochi emphasized.
On July 17th, the U.S. Attorney’s office outlined a bribery scheme between Commonwealth Edison and ‘Public Official A’, understood to be the Speaker of the Illinois House, Michael Madigan that Mazzochi called “breathtaking in its audacity to corrupt a publicly-traded company.” According to the Statement of Facts submitted to the Court, ComEd admits to a variety of schemes to bolster Madigan’s patronage network. One involved putting one of Madigan’s “important” top “precinct captains,” a Madigan political ally, and several others on a ComEd lobbyist’s payroll despite them not doing any work for ComEd. Another involved using false invoices that were “intended for ultimate payment to Public Official A’s associates, who in fact did little to no work for ComEd.” ComEd admitted that “indirect payments made to Public Official A’s associates—who performed little or no work for ComEd—totaled approximately $1,324,500.” ComEd also structured “these payment arrangements in part to conceal the size of payments made to Public Official A’s associates.”
Another series of schemes the court filings outline involve ComEd hiring. ComEd set up an internship program for students from Madigan’s ward “with the intent to influence and reward” Madigan. ComEd let Madigan name individuals to be ComEd employees, such as meter readers, as part of an “old-fashioned patronage system,” to have a “chip” ComEd could use with Madigan. ComEd admitted that “Individual A,” organizing these schemes on Madigan’s behalf (believed to be long-time Madigan ally Mike McClain), warned, “don’t put anything in writing,” and that ComEd executives should not tamper with the arrangement because “your money comes from Springfield.”
The filing also highlights that Madigan sought to have a ComEd board member appointed, with McClain telling ComEd’s CEO, “You take good care of me and so does our friend [Madigan] and I will do the best that I can to, to take care of you.” ComEd also admitted it retained a law firm because McClain told the CEO, “I am sure you know how valuable [the lawyer] is to our Friend,” threatening, “I know the drill and so do you,” and emphasizing that if the law firm hiring on stated terms did not occur, “our Friend [Madigan] will call me, and then I will call you. Is this a drill we need to go through?”
Mazzochi described the findings as “machine politics at its worst. And this is just one company engaged in indiscretions and outright illegal actions due to the Speaker and those working on his behalf. We know that subpoenas have also gone out to AT&T, Walgreens, and Rush University Hospital. How many more both in and out of government have been forced into pay-to-play politics with this man?” While some House Democrats have asked the Speaker to step down from this leadership role, Mazzochi insisted that “Madigan needs to be out of the Illinois House entirely. We don’t need him putting a figurehead in the Speaker’s role while he stays to pull the puppet strings. He remains arrogantly defiant; and refuses to accept responsibility for the corruption culture he has created.” Mazzochi also pointed out the power Madigan has over legislators through the political committees he chairs and controls—including the Democratic Party of Illinois; Friends of Michael J. Madigan; 13th Ward Organization, and the Democratic House Majority. “As long as he holds the Democrat party coffers on the legislative side and controls legislators with campaign dollars, Illinois will continue to suffer.”
Rep. Mazzochi reiterated, “I call on Governor Pritzker to call legislators back into session. I have sponsored House Resolution 885 to call for a no confidence vote in Speaker Madigan to remove him from his position of power in the Illinois House of Representatives.” Rep. Mazzochi insisted, “we need a government that works honestly and is responsive to the people we represent. The Governor is running a one man show that is rendering our state dysfunctional; while the Speaker treats the people’s House as his own personal playground. Madigan must resign for the good of Illinois.”