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Who is Mike Madigan — and a timeline of the federal corruption investigation

Chicago Tribune

Friday, February 19, 2021  |  Article  |  

Madigan, Michael--State House, 22

After 36-years as House speaker and a half-century after he was first sworn into the Illinois House, Michael Madigan announced his resignation Thursday.


The embattled 78-year-old lawmaker, ensnarled in a federal corruption investigation, released a lengthy statement Thursday.


What’s publicly known about federal efforts related to the now former speaker’s political operation stretches back to at least May 2019. Subpoenas or raids have touched lobbyists, legislators, private companies and members of Madigan’s political operation.




Michael Madigan through the years


House Speaker Michael Madigan

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, the longest-serving House speaker in U.S. history, is also the state’s Democratic ...



(E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)

Michael Madigan: The basics

Born: April 19, 1942, in Chicago


Early life: Attended St. Adrian’s Elementary School


1960: St. Ignatius College Prep


1964: Notre Dame, B.A. Economics


1967: Loyola University Law School


After law school: Held patronage jobs as a hearing officer for the Illinois Commerce Commission and as a public-utilities consultant for the city according to a 1988 Tribune story


1969: Elected as a delegate to the Illinois constitutional convention. Also elected a Democratic committeeman.

1970: Elected to the Illinois House for his district on the city’s southwest side


1977: Entered House Democratic leadership.


1983: Elected speaker of the House, holding the post continuously through January except for two years in the mid 1990s when Republicans gained control of the chamber.


1998: Elected chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party and still holds that position.


Family: Married to Shirley Madigan, has three daughters, one son and four grandchildren. His daughter Lisa Madigan was Illinois Attorney General from 2003 to 2019.


Work: An attorney, Madigan is a partner at Madigan & Getzendanner, a firm that works in Chicago’s lucrative field of commercial property tax appeals.


Sources: Illinois General Assembly, Northern Illinois University Libraries, Notre Dame, Loyola University, Chicago Tribune archives


Timeline of the federal investigation

Here is how the saga unfolded.


MID-MAY 2019


Raid of home of former Ald. Michael Zalewski

FBI raids the Southwest Side residence of former Ald. Michael Zalewski, who at the time was working with House Speaker Michael Madigan to get lobbying work from ComEd.


Then-Ald. Michael Zalewski, 23rd, appears at Chicago City Hall in 2012.

Then-Ald. Michael Zalewski, 23rd, appears at Chicago City Hall in 2012. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)

MID-MAY 2019


Raid of City Club offices

Feds raid the City Club of Chicago offices in the Wrigley building seeking records pertaining to club President Jay Doherty, a longtime ComEd lobbyist.


MID-MAY 2019


Raid of home of 13th Ward political operative Kevin Quinn

The feds raid the Far South Side home of former 13th Ward political operative Kevin Quinn -- the brother of Ald. Marty Quinn -- who was ousted by Madigan amid a sexual harassment scandal in 2018. Quinn received checks from current and former ComEd lobbyists.


MID-MAY 2019


Raid of home of lobbyist Mike McClain

The FBI raids the downstate home of Mike McClain, a longtime ComEd lobbyist who is widely known as one of House Speaker Michael Madigan’s closest confidants. The Tribune exclusively reported in November that the FBI had tapped McClain’s cellphone.


JULY 12, 2019


Subpoena: ComEd

ComEd reveals in a regulatory filing that it was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating the utlility’s lobbying practices.


SEPT. 24, 2019


Raid of home and offices of state Sen. Martin Sandoval

Federal agents raid the Springfield and Cicero offices and the Southwest Side home of the longtime Democratic state senator as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.


OCT. 4, 2019


Subpoena: ComEd and Sandoval communications

ComEd reveals in another regulatory filing it received a second federal grand jury subpoena related to its lobbying practices, this time specifically requesting any communications with state Sen. Sandoval and other unnamed individuals and entities.


OCT. 15, 2019


Exelon CEO resigns

Anne Pramaggiore, CEO of ComEd parent company Exelon, abruptly stepped down after it was revealed the utility’s lobbying practices were under criminal investigation.


OCT. 29, 2019


Madigan makes comments

“I’m not a target of anything,” Madigan told reporters at the Illinois Capitol. In a statement, he called for a review and strengthening of ethics and lobbying laws.




Sources: Feds taped Madigan confidant’s calls

Federal authorities recorded Madigan confidant McClain’s phone calls as part of the investigation into ComEd’s lobbying practices, sources told the Chicago Tribune. One of the sources said the recordings were made as a result of an FBI wiretap on McClain’s cellphone.




Sources: Questions about Madigan

Federal authorities have asked questions about Madigan and his political operation as part of an ongoing investigation about connections between Commonwealth Edison lobbyists and Madigan, lobbyists giving contracts to people tied to the speaker, and city, state and suburban government jobs held by his associates, four people who have been interviewed told the Tribune.




Subpoenas in Merrionette Park and Bridgeview

A pair of federal grand jury subpoenas seeking records from southwest suburban Merrionette Park and Bridgeview named Madigan, his former chief of staff Timothy Mapes, McClain, Marty Quinn and Kevin Quinn. The documents also called for copies of state and federal tax records related to Raymond Nice, a longtime precinct captain in Madigan’s vaunted 13th Ward operation.


APRIL 2020


Records show Madigan legal spending

Madigan’s main campaign fund paid nearly $462,000 in legal fees in the first three months of 2020 to a law firm that employs former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, campaign finance records show. In the final quarter of 2019, Madigan’s campaign fund paid more than $445,000 for legal fees to different firms, which a Madigan spokeswoman at the time said was to cover the cost of a $275,000 settlement with a former campaign worker, as well as ongoing civil cases and routine staff training.


JULY 17, 2020


U.S. attorney announces ComEd fine

ComEd is paying a $200 million criminal fine as part of a federal investigation into a “yearslong bribery scheme” involving jobs, contracts and payments to allies of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago announced Friday. Additionally, prosecutors asked Madigan’s office for “any and all documents and communications” concerning AT&T, including contracts and correspondence related to the hiring of anyone to provide consulting or lobbying services to the public utility, according to a subpoena the Tribune obtained through an open records request.


JULY 23, 2020


AT&T subpoena

The Tribune reported that AT&T was subpoenaed earlier this year by federal prosecutors in the operation encircling Madigan’s political operation.


JULY 2020


Madigan subpoena

A federal subpoena to Madigan’s office showed investigators were interested in a wide range of information, including dealings with Walgreens and Rush University Medical Center, records related to Madigan’s political organization and private property tax appeals law firm, as well as former state lawmakers and current or former Chicago aldermen.


NOV. 18, 2020


Four indicted

McClain is charged with bribery conspiracy and bribery in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury. Also charged are former ComEd CEO Pramaggiore; lobbyist and former ComEd executive John Hooker, of Chicago; and Doherty, a consultant and former head of the City Club of Chicago.


NOV. 19, 2020


Madigan responds

The embattled Illinois House Speaker releases a statement saying that if anyone at ComEd had tried to bribe him, “it was never made known to me.”


DEC. 2, 2020

Madigan confidant, three others plead not guilty

McClain, Pramaggiore, Hooker and Doherty pleaded not guilty to charges they orchestrated an elaborate bribery scheme with Commonwealth Edison to funnel money and do-nothing jobs to Madigan loyalists in exchange for the speaker’s help with state legislation.


JAN. 13, 2021


Madigan ousted as speaker of the House

Emanuel “Chris” Welch is elected the state’s first Black speaker of the House after Democrats rejected Madigan’s bid to maintain the single-handed power he wielded over the state for nearly four decades.


FEB. 18, 2021


Madigan resigns from Illinois House

Madigan announces his resignation from the Illinois House after representing a Southwest Side district for a half-century, the majority of that time as the powerful speaker, but remains chairman of the state Democratic Party.


Sources: Court documents, news reports and Chicago Tribune reporting