An unsealed search warrant has surfaced involving the ComEd bribery probe that ensnared the power company, longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan and his top Lieutenant.
The warrant’s 135 pages read like a roadmap through the federal corruption probe, including transcripts of recorded phone conversations involving ComEd’s former CEO, ComEd lobbyists, Madigan’s most trusted aide and Madigan himself.
Despite being the nation’s longest serving state house speaker, Mike Madigan rarely spoke “publicly.”
But new court filings show he was captured on FBI wiretaps, including in conversations in which his top lieutenant Michael McClain briefed him as he pushed Com Ed to hire cronies for everything from a Board of Directors seat to a summer internship.
In one call recorded by the feds: McClain tells Madigan their pick for a ComEd board seat will make $78,000 a year.
“Maybe I’ll take the appointment,” Madigan joked.
While the former speaker was more circumspect in the just revealed wiretaps, ComEd’s former CEO was not.
In a 2018 call with McClain, then-ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore said “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.”
Pramaggiore is one several ComEd executives and lobbyists charged in the scheme. Most are fighting the case but another, Fidel Marquez, is cooperating.
Marquez told FBI agents that ComEd hires cronies to “maintain relations” with politicians. The search warrant affidavit said: “Marquez stated that he did not believe that it was right to do so, but that was the way things are done in Illinois.”
Wiretaps also recorded Madigan saying, “the party that stays unified… wins elections.”
The wiretaps allegedly captured Madigan’s top aide McClain describing the importance to a ComEd official of putting a top precinct captain on the utility’s payroll.
According to US Attorney John Lausch, Madigan and McClain’s enterprise “unlawfully solicited benefits from a business and other private parties.”
While Madigan is circumspect in most of the newly-revealed calls, an FBI agent said the call demonstrates that Madigan directs McClain to solicit or extort from ComEd private benefits for Madigan’s associates.”
In 2020, the utility entered a deferred prosecution agreement in which ComEd agreed to pay a $200 million fine and cooperate in the investigation.