Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » “The payments were aimed at currying favor with certain lawmakers”
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
“The payments were aimed at currying favor with certain lawmakers”

Friday, Nov 8, 2019

* The Tribune has a new story up about ComEd and Exelon lobbyists and their connections to Speaker Madigan and others. It’s pretty similar to the WBEZ story from earlier this week. But this paragraph has its most succinct explanation yet for what the feds appear to be after

As part of the investigation, authorities are scrutinizing certain ComEd executives and have zeroed in on payments through the company’s vast network of consultants to some individuals who seemed to have done little actual work, the source said. The payments were aimed at currying favor with certain lawmakers while circumventing lobbying disclosure rules, the source added.

That last bit about “currying favor” with lawmakers is new. Click here for a previous version.

* Also from today’s WBEZ blockbuster

The practice of embedding clout-heavy contractors and hires on the company’s payroll offers a way to gain legislative favors outside of public scrutiny. It’s a small investment with potential to pay huge gains if the utility runs the legislative table in Springfield, as it has in years past.

Both outlets are basically saying the same thing here.

* And that made me think of this passage in a recent WBEZ story

ComEd ended its Springfield lobbying contract with Elgin-based Stratagem Consulting Group on Oct. 3, WBEZ has learned. The firm is co-owned by 36th Ward Ald. Gilbert Villegas, Jr., who is Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s floor leader, trusted with guiding major legislative initiatives through the City Council. […]

Villegas said he profited from its deal with ComEd and all of the firm’s clients.

But on Friday, he also told WBEZ that he did not do any work for ComEd personally under that deal. Villegas was not a registered lobbyist for the company in Springfield. Stratagem’s lobbyists for ComEd were Villegas’ business partner, Elgin City Council member Baldemar Lopez, and another man.

Until last week, Villegas was the most prominent member of disgraced former Rep. Luis Arroyo’s political organization.

Let’s make this clear: I do not know if Ald. Villegas is under federal suspicion, nor do I know if his firm’s ComEd contract is being looked at. But he shared profits from ComEd even though he didn’t register as a ComEd lobbyist and was super-close to then-Rep. Arroyo. That’s all I’m saying. Period.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Just Sayin' - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 11:55 am:

    ==payments through the company’s vast network of consultants to some individuals who seemed to have done little actual work==

    Seems like a RICO/Criminal Enterprise issue, not a lobbyist disclosure enhancement issue. If folks were being paid indirectly, disclosure already exists for these subcontracts and if lobbying “work” occurred, disclosure exists for this.

  2. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 11:58 am:

    ===Seems like a RICO/Criminal Enterprise issue===

    It does indeed.

  3. - Responsa - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:15 pm:

    So some clever lawyers somewhere along the way may have looked at the current law and found a way to circumvent it–at least for now. This stuff does not spring out of nature organically.

  4. - Not required - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:16 pm:

    Kind of entertaining how quickly Lightfoot steps into doo-doo with a close ally.

  5. - Roman - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:18 pm:

    Worth noting that RICO can cover criminal acts going back ten years — that’s a fairly permissive statute of limitations. Lot’s of ComEd legislation passed during that time, including the creation of their formula rate structure.

    Having said that, RICO prosecution are pretty rare in public corruption cases. Hard to prove up.

  6. - Ginhouse Tommy - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:26 pm:

    Looks like something maybe about to hit the fan. Like I said a day or two ago, you can’t legislate honesty. You just hope that people in office will follow the rules but as we can see money talks.

  7. - Drake Mallard - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:28 pm:

    RICO cases baby hard to prove up. But I kind of envision the feds phones right now are lighting up like they’re giving out free concert tickets 4 those who want to be the first in for the best deal

  8. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:36 pm:

    What the voters wont do, the Feds will. Corrupt leaders can’t run sham candidates or file thousands of fake forms rescinding candidate signatures to avoid charges.

  9. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:38 pm:

    ===envision the feds phones right now are lighting up===

    I think your vision may be 20/20. lol

  10. - rutro - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:45 pm:

    Is this new, “hires on the company’s payroll”, turning comed into a political dumping ground w/out shakman/rutan concerns? Not sure that’s what they’re trying to imply?

  11. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:47 pm:

    ===Is this new===

    No. It’s always been thus. The company really jacked up political hiring during Harold Washington’s tenure because white aldermen/legislators couldn’t get jobs.

  12. - Nagidam - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:47 pm:

    I guess the next question is whether this is happening with other companies. I can think of quite a few industries that have gotten favorable treatment in Springfield. Does favorable treatment or legislative wins now warrant scrutiny. I get ComEd/Exelon are on subpoenas and have brought the scrutiny to their door.

  13. - BigLou - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 12:56 pm:

    ===envision the feds phones right now are lighting up===

    Maybe that tweet from Arroyo the other day actually meant he was turning on his “freinds”. Kind of warning them. Although I think his “friends” would already figure him to sell people out to save himself./Snark

  14. - Another Heidner connection - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 1:03 pm:

    Heidner Properties sold land in the 36th ward to Bernard Eldelman. Previous attempts to develop the land that by the way didn’t request TIF money were blocked by Ald Villegas. Now with Edelman as the new owner, Villegas has requested $3.3 Million TIF to develop a storage facility.

  15. - Back to the Future - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 1:18 pm:

    Great reporting by WBEZ .Capitol Fax Trib and Sun-Times.
    Gotta a feeling something good will come of it.

  16. - Ok - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 1:22 pm:

    I also think the folks at Peoples, Nicor, Ameren, American Water, Dynegy, NRG, etc. are sitting anxiously hoping this mixroscope stays limited to ComEd as well.

    Maybe they should be getting out ahead of their own and avoiding the drip drip drip…

  17. - Roman - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 1:24 pm:

    The John Kasses of the world have fantasized about Ed Burke or Mike Madigan getting prosecuted under RICO, but it would be more likely for a charge like that to be directed at a private company with a well defined hierarchy and a single mission.

    A few years back, the feds hit executives at a healthcare company in Texas with a RICO prosecution for paying kickbacks and campaign contributions to local officials in exchange for getting contracts to manage their employee heath plans. You can see some parallels in what’s playing out here.

  18. - ETown60120 - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    Could be a RICO/Criminal Enterprise issue. Interesting times for ComEd.

  19. - Ron Popeil - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 3:09 pm:

    Could look at some state agencies that rely heavily on consulting firms with weak oversight. (IDOT)…millions going out with questionable returns and vague billing.

  20. - dbk - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 3:43 pm:

    –I also think the folks at Peoples, Nicor, Ameren, American Water, Dynegy, NRG, etc. are sitting anxiously hoping this mixroscope stays limited to ComEd as well.–

    Good observation.

    Can the Feds extend the current investigation into other corporations? In other words, did all this start from ComEd/Exelon, or from their investigation into specific politicians/political players/clouted third parties?

    It’s kind of unreasonable to imagine that ComEd was doing it but others weren’t.

    Very, very long books are going to be written about this whole affair in days to come.

    Hope JB is up to cleaning out the Augean stables, because it’s going to be a long, hard slug.

  21. - Sue - Friday, Nov 8, 19 @ 5:04 pm:

    Just go read the Trib article posted on the website- by the time this is over a lot of folks are going to be headed toward camp fed- great time to be a white collar criminal attorney- this investigation is the biggest probe in decades- they will need to start importing lawyers from out of state to staff all of the subjects and targets and witnesses

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* A quick look ahead to November
* Clean, Affordable Energy—Now More Than Ever
* Credit Unions Throughout Illinois Offer Assistance Through New Loan Products
* *** UPDATED x1 - Pritzker admin calls reports "irresponsible" *** 3 Chicago TV stations reporting that Pritzker will extend stay at home order
* The crisis is creating unity for now
* Lotta holes in that backstop, bub
* A few little somethings to lighten your day
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Medical director at hospital near Stateville: "This is a disaster"
* Tribune gonna Tribune
* Open thread
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...










Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller