Mike Madigan confidant and ex-ComEd CEO charged with bribery in lobbying scheme

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- An ex-Springfield lobbyist and confidant of House Speaker Michael Madigan has been charged with bribery in a criminal case in Chicago, along with the former ComEd CEO, a top ComEd lobbyist and the ex-head of the City Club.

Named in the indictment are Madigan friend, Michael McClain, former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, top ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and Jay Doherty, the former president of the City Club, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

In a statement, ComEd spokesperson Paul Elsberg said: "ComEd has already moved aggressively to implement comprehensive ethics and compliance reforms, and we're committed to earning back the trust of the communities we're privileged to serve. However, we're not able to comment on specific matters related to these former ComEd executives or beyond what is in the statement of facts in ComEd's deferred prosecution agreement."

A statement from McClain's attorney read in part, "The goal of these meritless charges is clear: to apply maximum pressure on Mike McClain, and others, to help the Government in its efforts against his friend. But Mike McClain cannot agree to allegations that are untrue, even to escape the crippling weight of the Government's attacks. Mike McClain absolutely denies that he has committed any crime, and he will fight these charges as long as it takes, and as long as his age and health allow, to restore his well-earned honest and honorable reputation."

Doherty's attorney released a statement as well, saying, "Jay Doherty was just notified he'd been indicted. He intends to plead not guilty because he is, in fact, not guilty of the charges."

A spokesman for Pramaggiore released a statement saying in part, "Anne Pramaggiore unequivocally rejects the government's charges that she engaged in unlawful behavior. She agrees with Commonwealth Edison that no one at the company committed a crime."

Federal prosecutors charged ComEd with bribery last July in a bombshell case that has continued to reverberate politically in the four months that have passed. It prompted a legislative probe of Madigan's dealings with ComEd, and it has led to questions about whether Madigan will be able to hold onto power.

Meanwhile, former ComEd executive Fidel Marquez also pleaded guilty to bribery in September, agreeing to cooperate with federal prosecutors. And a legislative hearing the same day revealed that former Ald. Frank Olivo was among those who received some of the $1.3 million ComEd paid to Madigan's associates while trying to curry favor with Madigan.

Madigan has denied wrongdoing. He's denied personal knowledge of the bribery scheme and said he never expected someone to be hired for a job in exchange for an action he took.

Illinois House Republican leader Jim Durkin released a statement Wednesday night calling for Madigan to be removed from power.

Arraignments in federal court in Chicago have not yet been scheduled.

WLS-TV contributed to this report

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire - Copyright Chicago Sun-Times 2020.)