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Madigan Pleads Not Guilty to Latest Corruption Charges

The Chicago politician, who was Speaker of the Illinois House and head of the Illinois Democratic Party for decades, has since been indicted by federal law enforcement. Charges against former Speaker Madigan include taking bribes and participating in federal racketeering. The charge sheet against Madigan began with allegations involving himself, his senior aides, the utility company ComEd, and the state laws that govern the consumer bills that ComEd is allowed to send out to electricity customers. The federal charge sheet has since been lengthened with additional new charges. The new charges constitute a superseding indictment, a new indictment that supplements and replaces the first one.

In the superseding indictment, Madigan is now accused of colluding with another utility service provider, telecom provider AT&T, involving other state laws that govern the price tags on consumer bills sent out to millions of Illinoisans. In return for allowing these firms to charge higher bills to customers, Madigan is accused of extracting various favors from these firms. These favors allegedly included money and jobs from these firms and interests for Madigan’s allies and friends. In an arraignment on Tuesday, November 1, lawyers for former Speaker Madigan told a court that he was pleading “not guilty” to all of the current charges against him. House Republicans responded to the superseding indictment by renewing their calls for comprehensive ethics reform in Illinois state government. The state’s current ethics laws were not effective at stopping the alleged conduct and fact pattern presented in the indictment. House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and State Rep. Mike Marron held a press conferencefollowing Madigan’s arraignment on Tuesday. Leader Durkin kicked off the press conference by pointing out the decades-long pay-to-play schemes perpetrated by Madigan that are being uncovered by a sweeping Federal investigation. “Two years ago, Democrats chose to bury their heads in the sand and blocked every attempt to seek the truth about Madigan’s corruption in the Illinois House,” Durkin said. “That’s why I called for a Special Investigating Committee into his behavior. House Speaker Chris Welch called the Republicans’ efforts a sham and a political show trial. After all that we have learned, I’d like to know if Speaker Welch still stands by these claims today.” AT&T joins Commonwealth Edison as companies identified so far in Madigan’s corruption investigation that have agreed to pay millions of dollars in fines after agreeing to deferred prosecution agreements. AT&T will pay a $23 million fine after admitting the company helped a Madigan ally get a no-show job in exchange for passage of legislation favorable to AT&T. Rep. Marron says he is sponsoring some of the toughest ethics laws in the country, but House Democrats have actively worked to block their passage. “I am sponsoring legislation that would end the practice of legislators serving as lobbyists in any capacity,” Marron said. “House Democrats have worked at every turn to block the passage of real ethics reform that would end that corrupt practice as well as provide the legislative inspector general with the tools that he needs to conduct thorough investigations. Something has to change or Illinois will continue to wear the stained reputation of one of the most corrupt states in the country. Our citizens deserve better than that.”

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