ILLINOIS (IRN) — House Speaker Michael Madigan denies knowing anything about a bribery scheme federal prosecutors indicted four individuals in late Wednesday. Republicans want him to testify in front of a House committee.
Utility ComEd has admitted it paid $1.3 million to Madigan associates over nine years in an effort to influence the speaker. In September, a former ComEd official pleaded guilty.
Late Wednesday, federal prosecutors charged two former ComEd officials and two Madigan associates with bribery conspiracy and other charges, including Michael McClain. McClain is a known longtime Madigan associate.
Madigan said in a statement if there was an attempt to influence him, it was never made known to him. Bribery, he said, “would have been profoundly unwelcome.”
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said Madigan has his head in the sand.
“This is far from over,” Durkin said. “Your statement today that was released this morning sets up the old ostrich defense of sticking your head in the sand, but everyone involved in this process knows you’re fully aware of all matters and politics and legislation in Illinois, either under the roof or outside the roof.”
Madigan denied knowing anything about the scheme and said if there were attempts at influence, “it failed.”
State Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, R-Elmhurst, said Wednesday’s indictment was proof Madigan knew when McClain called the speaker to tell him about pushback for a ComEd board post Madigan was allegedly seeking.
“We know from public reports that Mike McClain’s phone was wiretapped,” Mazzochi said. “This indictment would not be recounting this statement between Mike McClain and Speaker Madigan in a phone call if they didn’t have it recorded.
“So we have evidence that speaker Madigan did in fact have conversations with Mike McClain about the corrupt board seat at ComEd,” she said.
Republicans demanded the House Special Investigating Committee into Madigan’s conduct meet and subpoena the speaker to testify. Chairman Chris Welch, D-Hillside, said they’re still waiting for ComEd to produce requested documents before they convene again.