May 23, 2022

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan indicted for racketeering and bribery

The Democratic Party has had its share of corruption and scandals. Now one of their longtime Illinois lawmakers will get his comeuppance for decades of alleged misconduct.

A grand jury has indicted former speaker Illinois House of Representatives Michael Madigan on federal racketeering and bribery charges Wednesday, Breitbart reported. Madigan had held that position for more than three decades and allegedly used it to enrich himself and his associates.

Madigan resigned last year as he was under investigation, Fox News reported. That probe yielded a 22-count indictment that alleges Madigan and co-defendant Michael McClain ran their scheme between 2011 and 2019.

The pair allegedly funneled money to Madigan’s law practice and passed laws that would benefit his firm. “Madigan and McClain allegedly caused various businesses, including the utility company Commonwealth Edison, to make monetary payments to Madigan’s associates as a reward for their loyalty to Madigan, at times in return for performing little or no legitimate work for the businesses,” the Department of Justice said.

Moreover, Madigan racked up individual charges for wire fraud, attempted extortion, and several counts of using interstate facilities in the aid of bribery. These alleged crimes threaten to ensnare other high-ranking Democrats like Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker whom he helped get elected and craft early legislation.

“I’ve been saying for years now that we’ve got to root out corruption wherever it exists, and it’s why we’ve passed and I’ve signed ethics reforms in the state of Illinois,” Pritzker said Wednesday. The governor is up for re-election this year, and his Republican challenger Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin accused Pritzker of “enabling Madigan with millions in campaign contributions” that kept him in power.

“This 22-count federal indictment against former Democrat Speaker Michael Madigan is the beginning of the power cleaning so desperately needed in Illinois government,” House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said. “But this is not just an indictment against Michael Madigan. It’s an indictment against the Democrat Party of Illinois that he ran for decades.”

These are serious charges leveled at Madigan and the party. It’s no surprise to find such corruption in a blue state like Illinois, but it is telling that it’s being rooted out at a time when Democrats are poised to lose all over the nation in this year’s election anyway.

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