In another blow to hated House Speaker Michael Madigan, his Springfield confidant, Michael McClain, was accused of bribery on Wednesday, along with former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, in a lobbying scheme to win Madigan’s favor.
The federal indictment also lists former ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and Jay Doherty, a former City Club president who has been accused of using his consulting firm to charge for fake jobs and handing over the money to several Madigan associates. .
The 50-page indictment alleges several tactics that ComEd allegedly used to win favor with Madigan, who has enormous power over the state̵
legislation critical to ComEd.
At the alleged insistence of McClain, then a Springfield lobbyist and ComEd Hooker’s best official, the company hired a law firm in 2011 that was not listed in the indictment to please Madigan and guarantee him a certain number of paid hours a year. , even though sometimes there wasn’t enough work to justify it.
Pramaggiore is believed to have appointed former McPier CEO Juan Ochoa to the ComEd board at the request of Madigan and McClain.
And the service directed payments through Doherty’s consulting firm to several Madigan associates, including $ 256,000 for the former Ald. Frank Olivo, who once represented Madigan’s ward, and former Ald. Mike Zalewski, who received $ 5,000 a month. Doherty’s consulting firm is believed to have pretended that the payments were for ComEd, but were in fact intended for Madigan’s employees.
Patrick Cotter, a McClain lawyer, said in a statement: “In its zeal to find any evidence of criminal activity on the part of this official, the government is trying to rewrite the bribery law and criminalize the long-recognized legitimate, common and normal lobbyist. activity in some new form of crime. The purpose of these useless accusations is clear: to put maximum pressure on Mike McClain and others to help the government in its efforts against his friend. “
Pramaggiore and Doherty also denied wrongdoing on Wednesday. Olivo and Zalewski have not been charged and have not returned reports.
ComEd even accepts interns from Madigan’s 13th Division, although some sometimes do not meet its requirements, including average grades, according to the indictment.
The allegations, filed Wednesday, are with details released in July when federal prosecutors accused ComEd of bribery in a bomb case that has continued to resonate politically over the past four months.
This prompted a legislative review of Madigan’s relationship with ComEd, contributed to democratic defeats on election day – including the desired change in Gov. Jr. Pritzker’s income tax – and raised questions about whether Madigan would be able to retain power.
Just two weeks ago, three of the country’s best Democrats – Pritzker and Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth – called for Madigan to step down as chairman of the state party.
Illinois House Republican leader Jim Derkin fired Madigan in a statement late Wednesday night: “Today’s news makes it clear that the Illinois Democratic Party, chaired and controlled by Speaker Madigan, also known as Public Servant A, is a corrupt organization that governs be. For the past many months and years, Madigan’s apologists from the governor to ordinary Democrats in the House of Prisons have turned a blind eye to his corrupt practices. Speaker Madigan and his long list of defenders must be removed from power … “
Madigan, for his part, denied any wrongdoing or personal knowledge of the bribery scheme. He said he never expected anyone to be hired in exchange for an action he had taken.
“Helping people find work is not a crime,” Madigan wrote in a letter to House colleagues earlier this year.
ComEd has already agreed to pay a $ 200 million fine – the largest criminal fine ever in a federal court in Chicago. And although the company has not officially pleaded not guilty in court, it has admitted many of the allegations of the federal authorities in the so-called. Deferred pursuit agreement. If ComEd complies with its terms, the bribery charge filed in July is likely to be dropped.
Former ComEd CEO Fidel Marquez pleaded guilty to bribery in September, agreeing to co-operate with federal prosecutors.
In May 2018, McClain told Marquez why Madigan’s staff was being paid. He explained that one of them was “one of the first three section captains” who also “taught people how to walk from door to door … just to give you an idea of how important a person is.”
In February 2019, McClain claimed to have told Hooker how to explain payments to the company. McClain claims we had to hire these guys because [Madigan] came to us. It’s just that simple. “
McClain was also candid when it came to working with Pramaggiore, when he claimed that ComEd continued to pay a law firm to please Madigan, even when company officials called for reduced hours.
McClain and others often do not refer to Madigan by name, but call him “our friend” or “our friend,” according to the feds.
On January 20, 2016, McClain claimed to have written in an email to Pramaggiore and Hooker: “I’m sure you know how valuable [Lawyer A] is for our Friend. I know the workout and so do you. If you do not join [sic] and resolved this matter by 850 hours for his law firm a year, after which he would go to our friend. Our Friend will call me and then I will call you. Does this workout have to go through? . . . I just don’t understand why we should spend precious minutes on such things when we know that it will provoke a reaction from our Friend. ”
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