Pritzker: Illinois speaker 'must resign' if allegations true

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2020 The State Journal-Register

FILE - In this May 23, 2020 file photo, Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, talks on his cellphone from his desk during an extended session of the Illinois House of Representatives at the Bank of Springfield Center, in Springfield, Ill. ComEd has agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into a long-running bribery scheme that implicates Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, the U.S. Attorney's office announced Friday July 17, 2020. (Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP, Pool, File)

CHICAGO – Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Friday that Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan “must resign” if allegations of corruption are true against the fellow Democrat long considered the state’s most powerful lawmaker.

Madigan, who also serves as chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, denied wrongdoing through a party spokeswoman, who said he received subpoenas for documents Friday morning.

“He will cooperate and respond to those requests for documents, which he believes will clearly demonstrate that he has done nothing criminal or improper,” spokeswoman Maura Possley said in a statement.

Federal prosecutors said electric utility ComEd has agreed to pay $200 million to resolve a federal criminal investigation into a long-running bribery scheme that implicates Madigan. They say the company has admitted that from 2011 to 2019 it arranged for jobs and vendor subcontracts “for various associates of a high-level elected official for the state of Illinois."

The U.S. Attorney's Office identified the high-level elected official as “Public Official A” in a news release. A deferred prosecution agreement for ComEd filed in federal court states that “Public Official A” is the Illinois House speaker, but Madigan — who is the longest-serving state House speaker in modern American history — is not mentioned by name.

“The speaker has a lot that he needs to answer for, to authorities, to investigators, and most importantly, to the people of Illinois,” Pritzker said during a stop in suburban Chicago. “If these allegations of wrongdoing by the speaker are true, there is no question that he will have betrayed the public trust and he must resign.”

U.S. Attorney John Lausch said at a news conference that the agreement with ComEd “speaks for itself.”

“It also speaks volumes about the nature of the very stubborn public corruption problem we have here in Illinois," he said.