A former vice president at ComEd was charged in a federal bribery conspiracy in what prosecutors say was a nearly 10-year scheme to curry favor with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
The criminal complaint filed in the Northern District of Illinois against Fidel Marquez alleges that, for nearly a decade, he conspired “with others known and unknown” to solicit and demand things of value like jobs, contracts and money, for the benefit of “Public Official A.”
The Chicago Tribune reports that Marquez was the vice president of governmental and external affairs for ComEd from 2012 to September 2019. The charges don’t name “Public Official A” but identify the individual as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
In July, ComEd entered a deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors that implicated Madigan as “Public Official A.” The utility is expected to pay $200 million in fines in the agreement.
The 4-page one count criminal information court document filed Friday alleges that from 2011 to 2019; Marquez solicited jobs, contracts and payments to benefit Madigan and his associates to influence legislation that benefited ComEd. Defendants who are charged via criminal information — as opposed to grand jury indictment — likely intend to plead guilty. Madigan, who has not been charged with a crime, has continually proclaimed his innocence in the case.
Many of the illegal payments and jobs allegedly were arranged by Quincy, Illinois lobbyist Michael McClain, a key confidant and adviser at the center of the probe, according to court records. McClain also has not been charged.
Madigan and Marquez, as well as other officials from ComEd, face a civil RICO lawsuit stemming from the scandal. Aside from seeking a $450 million judgment, plaintiffs in the lawsuit also seek to issue an injunction against Madigan from being the chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois and from being involved in future energy legislation.
Madigan is likely to also soon face tough questions from members within the legislative chamber he controls. A Special Investigative Committee that Republicans demanded last week to investigate the issue will have its first meeting in Springfield Thursday. The committee could produce possible recommendations for discipline in regards to the case.