The evolving federal dragnet into Commonwealth-Edison’s lobbying in Springfield is drawing closer to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. According to Ray Long and Jason Meisner at the Chicago Tribune this week, federal authorities have asked questions about the speaker’s political operations and its connections to ComEd’s lobbying and lobbyists giving contracts to people tied to Madigan, as well as jobs at the municipal, county, and state level. The anonymous sources also said authorities had numerous questions about the speaker’s relationship and dealings with longtime confidant and Quincy native Michael McClain.
According to a report from Greg Hinz at Chicago Business, political insiders and official state disclosure records indicate that for at least the last five years, Exelon and its Commonwealth Edison subsidiary have hosted a major autumn Chicago fundraiser for Madigan. The events rotated between the Chicago Club and the Union League Club. Chicago Club has not been subpoenaed or questioned in the matter.
Long-time City Club of Chicago President Jay Doherty resigned this past week due to his connections to lobbying practices for ComEd. Reports allege that Doherty was a conduit for helping provide compensation and jobs to Madigan associates at ComEd, with sources close to the probe saying that Doherty had more than 100 people drawing funds that originated with ComEd on his payroll, some in positions that involved little actual work. Back in October, Governor J.B. Pritzker banned state officials from speaking engagements at the club after federal agents searched the civic group’s Wrigley Building office earlier in the year.
Madigan has not yet been accused of any wrongdoing by federal investigators in their ongoing probe into the illegal lobbying efforts.