AT&T Illinois will pay a $23 million fine for attempting to illegally influence former Illinois house speaker Michael Madigan (D), who has been accused of participating in bribery schemes.
The utility company tried to illegally influence Madigan, for decades the kingpin of Illinois Democrat politics, by arranging to pay over $22,000 to one of his allies while key legislation moved through the state’s capital, ABC 7 reported Friday.
“The utility has also entered into a so-called deferred-prosecution agreement with U.S. Attorney John Lausch’s office, similar to the deal cut by ComEd when the feds charged it with bribery more than two years ago,” the outlet said.
Meanwhile, company leaders have cooperated with federal prosecutors and vowed to continue working with them per the terms of the deal.
“Madigan was also charged with corruptly arranging for payments to be made to a political ally as part of an alleged conspiracy involving Illinois Bell Telephone Company, which does business as AT&T Illinois, according to a superseding indictment unsealed Friday,” the ABC report said.
In the ComEd case, Madigan was implicated in the scheme that eventually led to his indictment and indictments of several people connected to the company.
Those individuals “are also accused of trying to illegally influence Madigan by rewarding his allies,” the article continued.
Earlier this year, Madigan was indicted on federal racketeering charges and accused of participating in bribery schemes, but he denied any wrongdoing.
“Madigan, who represented the southwest side of Chicago for half a century, established a firm grip on power in the 1990s and used it to overwhelm governors of both parties, essentially dictating state policies from the lower house of the legislature,” Breitbart News reported in March:
He controlled Democrats’ access to campaign funds and endorsements, and until the last ten years, few Democrats aspiring to achieve elected office would dare criticize him. Governors who defied him on policy almost always saw their plans fail.
A year ago, Madigan resigned his seat in the legislature after being ousted as speaker, following allegations of bribery involving the ComEd electricity utility, for which the company was fined $200 million after a federal investigation.
In February 2021, when Madigan announced he was retiring from the House seat he occupied since 1971, he said, “I leave office at peace with my decision and proud of the many contributions I’ve made to the state of Illinois, and I do so, knowing I’ve made a difference.”
Madigan was unable to secure the votes needed from his caucus to take the Speaker’s chair, according to Breitbart News.
“His loss was likely the result of a swirling controversy over implications that he may have been involved in a years-long bribery scheme involving Illinois electric company ComEd,” the outlet said.