While Donald Trump has recently announced that federal authorities will be unleashed in major democratic cities, by now, federal involvement in Chicago has been an ongoing fact of life for major developers and politicians for centuries. Most recently, the feds filed a criminal case against ComEd, and they are also targeting House Speaker Michael Madigan.
The feds have lobbyist Mike McClain speaking to a ComEd executive. He told this executive that he should not put anything in writing and that putting things in writing could “only hurt ya.” The two men then discussed a favor for Mike Madigan that federal authorities believe is part of a larger bribery scheme.
How Did the Bribery Scheme Work?
All of these schemes work the same way, and it is always predictable. Person A offers money taken from a government contract to Person B for a favor. Person B performs the favor and then is paid from funds that are earmarked for a specific program. In this case, it was the utility contractor ComEd. Person A hides the fact that this is in fact bribery by saying that the funds went toward specific expenditures related to the government program. But the expenditures are not related to a work order, they are related to a bribery scheme.
So then the question becomes, why, if this is so common and obvious, do politicians continue to defraud the government in this way. Well, it is easy to steal the money, and it takes significant effort to uncover the fraud. Politicians engaged in such practices tend to believe that they have all their bases covered. The illusion of control is just that, an illusion. Once you begin colluding with other people, you have lost control of the situation. In this case, it was two colluders in the scheme discussing the matter outside of Madigan’s purview that will almost certainly lead to federal charges against Madigan himself.
ComEd is now facing federal charges related to bribery and will be required to pay a $200 million fine. It is believed to be the largest fine ever levied in Chicago (not adjusting for inflation).
Now, the Governor and others are calling for Madigan’s resignation. However, no formal charges have been filed against Madigan or anyone else for that matter who has been implicated in the scheme. However, federal agents announced that the investigation is ongoing and has subpoenaed Madigan for a new round of questions concerning other contracts that may have had similar bribery schemes attached. Some of Madigan’s top supporters are also under investigation.
The feds will likely build their case by filing charges against lesser players in the fraud and offer them deals to provide testimony that will convict Madigan.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are a friend of Michael Madigan, then now is the time to find a skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney with the experience to handle federal cases. Call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help.