ComEd to pay $200 million to end federal criminal probe, top state Democrat subpoenaed

News reports says Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Democrat, is the unnamed elected official connected to the probe

Updated: July 17, 2020 - 6:06pm

Commonwealth Edison Company, the largest electric utility in Illinois, has agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal probe into a years-long bribery scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago said Friday. 

The payment is part of an agreement to end the federal criminal investigation that also included a deferred prosecution deal under which the utility admitted to arranged jobs and vendor subcontracts – and payments associated with those jobs and subcontracts – for associates of a high-level elected Illinois official.

The payments were to influence and reward the official’s efforts to assist ComEd with legislation related to the company and its business interests, federal officials said.

The unnamed public official controlled which legislation was brought to a vote in the Illinois House and exerted “substantial influence” over fellow lawmakers concerning measures affecting ComEd, federal officials also said.

News reports have identified the official as Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Democrat.

A Madigan spokeswoman has issued a statement denying any wrongdoing but confirmed that Madigan had been subpoenaed and would cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office on Friday filed a one-count criminal charge for bribery but will defer prosecution for three years, then seek to dismiss it if ComEd abides by certain conditions, including continuing to cooperate with ongoing investigations of individuals or other entities related to the conduct described in the bribery charge.

In a statement, ComEd’s parent company, Exelon, said it had cleaned up its lobbying practices and noted it had pledged to fully cooperate with the investigation, according to the Chicago Tribune. 

The deferred prosecution agreement is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court. A court date for the approval hearing has not yet been scheduled.



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