House Speaker Michael Madigan has declined the invitation to testify in front of the House Investigative Committee looking into his alleged misconduct involving bribery and patronage hiring at Commonwealth Edison. Madigan issued a lengthy letter to the committee yesterday continuing to call the committee a “politically motivated stunt,” and accused House Republican leader Jim Durkin of “using his government office and government resources to earn free media for himself and his political candidates.” Madigan has not been formally charged with any wrongdoing in the ComEd deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors.
Durkin responded to the accusation by calling on House Democrats and Governor J.B. Pritzker by requesting them to “step up and demand answers about Madigan’s involvement in ComEd’s admission of guilt in a bribery scheme lasting nine years.”
In addition to Madigan and ComEd, Republicans on the committee have requested voluntary testimony from longtime Madigan confidant and former ComEd lobbyist of Quincy Michael McClain, as well as Exelon Chief Executive Anne Pramaggiore, former Chicago 23rd Ward Alderman Mike Zalewski, and former City Club of Chicago President Jay Doherty. The Chicago Tribune has previously reported on all of their links to Madigan and federal agents have sought more information into their relationships. As of 5PM Friday, the committee’s chair Representative Emmanuel “Chris” Welch said in a press release that the House Investigative Committee had “received no formal indication of any witnesses planning to testify.” Welch says that the committee still plans to meet Tuesday and proceed with a hearing.
The House committee could subpoena witnesses, but that would require one Democrat to vote with the Republicans to compel testimony. One Democrat also would have to side with Republicans for the special committee to approve a charge against Madigan.
In the letter, Madigan defended his reputation by saying he had simply recommended people for jobs: “Helping people find jobs is not a crime.” Madigan went on to say that he couldn’t provide the committee with information that he does not have in the case. He urged the committee to let the federal government to continue to handle the case.
The House Investigative Committee’s next hearing is set for 2PM on Tuesday in Springfield.