The Chicago Tribune reported today that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said if allegations involving Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who for decades has been at the controls of whether legislation lives or dies inside the state Capitol, and the state’s largest utility Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) are true then he should step down.
Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, went further in her comments on Monday than she did previously and echo the sentiments of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and a bloc of progressive lawmakers in Madigan’s House Democratic caucus.
Federal prosecutors said electric utility ComEd has agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into a long-running bribery scheme that implicates Madigan. They say the company has admitted that from 2011 to 2019 it arranged for jobs and vendor subcontracts “for various associates of a high-level elected official for the state of Illinois.”
The alleged bribery scheme was orchestrated “to influence and reward the official’s efforts to assist ComEd with respect to legislation concerning ComEd and its business,” prosecutors said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office identified the high-level elected official as “Public Official A” in a news release. A deferred prosecution agreement for ComEd filed in federal court states that “Public Official A” is the Illinois House speaker, but Madigan, a Chicago Democrat who is the longest-serving state House speaker in modern American history, is not mentioned by name.
“The speaker has a lot that he needs to answer for, to authorities, to investigators, and most importantly, to the people of Illinois,” Pritzker said during a stop in suburban Chicago. “If these allegations of wrongdoing by the speaker are true, there is no question that he will have betrayed the public trust and he must resign.”
But, Mayor Lori Lightfoot also told the Tribune that she stopped short of calling for him to step down because he hasn’t been charged with a crime.
Madigan, who also serves as chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, denied wrongdoing through a party spokesperson, who said he received subpoenas for documents Friday morning.
This is an ongoing investigation and will be updated.