Ally of Top Illinois Dem Charged in Bribery Scheme

Barack Obama and then-Illinois House speaker Michael Madigan / Getty Images
November 19, 2020

A close ally of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D.) was charged Wednesday for coordinating a bribery scheme with an electric utility company.  

A federal grand jury charged Michael McClain and three others with bribery after they allegedly coordinated a scheme that provided kickbacks to Madigan's associates in exchange for the speaker’s backing of legislation benefiting Commonwealth Edison, an Illinois utility giant. 

Former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, lobbyist John Hooker, and consultant Jay Doherty were charged along with McClain on Wednesday. 

ComEd, Illinois’s largest utility provider, allegedly bribed Madigan by giving his friends and loyalists $1.32 million in financial benefits, as well as contracts and jobs. The defendants also allegedly persuaded ComEd to hire Reyes Kurson, a Madigan-favored law firm, and have a Madigan-selected individual added to the company’s board of directors. 

McClain worked with Madigan in the Illinois House of Representatives during the 1970s and '80s before leaving public service to lobby for ComEd, among other companies, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Madigan has so far avoided much media scrutiny since the FBI revealed its investigation of the ComEd bribery scheme this summer and has not yet faced criminal charges.

Madigan is the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party and is the longest-serving state house speaker in the United States. Democrats in the state house will vote in January to decide whether to reelect Madigan as speaker. 

Published under: Corruption , Illinois