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Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was indicted Wednesday on racketeering and bribery charges by a federal grand jury.
Madigan, 79, a Democrat who held the speaker position for nearly 40 years until he resigned last year amid the investigation, is accused of using his position for personal financial gain, according to FOX 32 of Chicago.
The 22-count indictment alleges Madigan and co-defendant Michael McClain ran a criminal enterprise between 2011 and 2019, soliciting bribes and financial awards for him, his associates and his law practice, with McClain carrying out illegal activities at Madigan’s behest.
“Madigan and McClain allegedly caused various businesses, including the utility company Commonwealth Edison, to make monetary payments to Madigan’s associates as a reward for their loyalty to Madigan, at times in return for performing little or no legitimate work for the businesses,” The U.S. Justice Department said.
Michael Madigan, then-speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, speaks during a news conference at the Statehouse in Springfield, Illinois, U.S., on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015.
He is also accused of illegally steering private legal work to his law firm, including from those with business before the state and Chicago.
He is charged with racketeering, conspiracy and individual counts of using interstate facilities in aid of bribery, wire fraud, and attempted extortion, according to the DOJ.
“I’ve been saying for years now that we’ve got to root out corruption wherever it exists, and it’s why we’ve passed and I’ve signed ethics reforms in the state of Illinois,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during a ceremonial groundbreaking at the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park on Sept. 28, 2021 in Chicago. (Getty Images)
Republicans seized on Madigan’s ties to Pritzker, who is up for re-election this year. Madigan helped Pritzker with important legislation during his first year in office, according to FOX 32.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said it was potentially the “darkest day in Illinois history.”
“This 22-count federal indictment against former Democrat Speaker Michael Madigan is the beginning of the power cleaning so desperately needed in Illinois government,” he said. “But this is not just an indictment against Michael Madigan. It’s an indictment against the Democrat Party of Illinois that he ran for decades.”
Republican gubernatorial candidate Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said Madigan had a “destructive 40-year reign” and accused Pritzker of standing by, “enabling Madigan with millions in campaign contributions.”
State Sen. Darren Bailey claimed Madigan “handpicked” Pritzker as a gubernatorial candidate, FOX 32 reported.
Madigan had denied the charges against him, according to the Chicago Tribune.
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