On Tuesday, the "ComEd Four" were found guilty on all charges related to a massive bribery conspiracy that involved former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. The trial lasted nearly seven weeks and included testimonies from 50 witnesses and countless FBI recordings.
Former lobbyist and lawmaker Michael McClain, former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, ex-ComEd lobbyist John Hooker, and former City Club president Jay Doherty were convicted of conspiracy to bribe Madigan, who was one of the most powerful politicians in Illinois for decades.
According to the prosecution, the defendants conspired to provide Madigan with jobs and contracts for his political allies and associates in exchange for favorable legislation and regulatory treatment for ComEd, which is the largest utility company in Illinois. The scheme allegedly lasted for nearly a decade and involved millions of dollars in payments and benefits.
The defense argued that the defendants did nothing wrong and that their actions were part of normal political lobbying and deal-making. However, the jury did not buy that argument and found all four guilty on all counts.
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy responded to the verdict, stating, “Finally, we are starting to see Illinois Democrats held accountable for their corrupt actions. After decades of Democratic insiders putting their personal interests ahead of Illinois residents, it’s now clear that the Madigan Democrat machine corrupted Illinois State government.”
Tracy's comments echo the sentiments of many Republicans who have long accused the Madigan's Democratic Party of being rife with corruption and cronyism. State Representative Bill Hauter said, “Opponents of ethics reform have nowhere left to hide after this latest embarrassing round of convictions. Illinoisans have had to endure too many scandals and too much corruption for too long. We cannot delay real ethics reform any longer.”