Committee probing Madigan to meet for first time since ‘bombshell’ emails in bribery scheme


Members of the Illinois House Special Investigating Committee looking into House Speaker Michael Madigan’s conduct in the ComEd bribery scheme will push to subpoena the speaker on Monday, the first hearing since a trove of emails were released.

Last summer, federal prosecutors entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) they entered with utility ComEd, where the utility agreed to pay $200 million in fines for its role in a nine-year bribery scheme to influence Madigan, D-Chicago.

Madigan has not been charged with a crime and denies wrongdoing.

Since the DPA was released, a former ComEd official charged in the case has pleaded guilty. Four others, two former ComEd officials and two Madigan associates, have been charged but have pleaded not guilty.

Separate from the federal case, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, filed charges against Madigan in the Illinois House sparking a House Special Investigating Committee.

“ComEd has acknowledged that it believed that it was seeking to influence Speaker Madigan,” Exelon compliance officer David Glockner said in September during the second hearing of the committee.

Glockner acknowledged the utility paid $1.3 million in jobs and contracts to Madigan associates in exchange for the speaker's support.

State Rep. Tom Demmer said Friday, in advance of Monday’s hearing, that members are tasked with investigating and they have to hear from more witnesses.

“And I think it’s critical that in order to conduct an investigation we hear from more than just one witness, so that’s why we’ve been focused on calling the speaker to come testify himself,” Demmer said.

Madigan has declined a voluntary request to testify.

Republicans have been trying to have the committee meet to subpoena the speaker, a motion they’re expected to make Monday.

In September, Republicans tried to motion for subpoenas, but that wasn’t allowed to advance by Democratic chairman Chris Welch, D-Hillside.

“It is most likely that any individual for whom a subpoena is issued will go to court to quash it, leaving us in no better position to assess the merits of Leader Durkin’s charges than we are now,” Welch said in September.

The day before Thanksgiving, the committee released 100 emails revealing more of the scheme. Demmer Friday said they’re bombshells and Madigan has to answer questions.

“Speaker Madigan does not want to testify to the contrary and so given that evidence that has been entered before the committee, how can we not say that reasonable grounds exist to bring a charge,” Demmer said.

The investigating committee could advance charges to a larger, different panel of lawmakers for discipline, which could then advance disciplinary action for the whole House to consider.

The Special Investigating Committee is the second such committee created for the 100th General Assembly.

Last year, a similar committee was launched after the arrest of former state Rep. Luis Arroyo, D-Chicago. He was charged with bribing an unnamed state senator who was wearing a wire. The committee disbanded after Arroyo resigned from the legislature. His criminal case is pending.

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