Mar 2, 2022 - Politics

Michael Madigan indicted for alleged bribery


Michael Madigan speaks during a press conference at the State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, in 2015. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ex-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was indicted yesterday on federal racketeering charges that allege bribery schemes.

Why it matters: Madigan served as the state house speaker for 36 years, longer than any other in American history, until he stepped down in January 2021.

The charges: U.S. Attorney John Lausch has charged Madigan with attempting several pay-to-play schemes.

  • The 22-count indictment alleges that Madigan engaged in a "decade-long scheme" to use his public office for personal gain.
  • Lausch charges that Madigan led the 13th ward political organization in illegal activities through an organization the indictment calls "The Madigan Enterprise."
  • Many of the charges stem from the ComEd scandal. In 2019, lobbyists with close ties to Madigan and ComEd executives were indicted on a scheme to curry favor with the speaker.

What they're saying: "Corruption by an elected official and his associates undermines the public's confidence in our government," U.S. Attorney Lausch said in a statement Wednesday.

  • "The indictment alleges a long-term, multifaceted scheme to use public positions for unlawful private gain."

Big picture: Madigan has been under federal scrutiny for years, dating back to at least 2014.

  • "You better have a tight case, because if you're going to take the shot, you're not going to want to miss," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at an event at UIC.

What's next: Madigan was not arrested and no date has been set for arraignment.

💭 Justin's thought bubble: This is such a huge moment in Illinois politics. Every piece of legislation, every election, every candidate in the last 50 years was influenced in some way by Michael J. Madigan.

  • The history books will no doubt argue his legacy as one of the most powerful politicians to ever call Illinois home, but it will now include an asterisk.

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