* WBEZ FOIA’d emails between Mike McClain and the House Speaker’s office, including former Madigan chief of staff Tim Mapes, and eventually received 1,200 pages of documents. Excerpt from the station’s team coverage…
Madigan aides not only discussed ComEd jobs for loyalists. The emails show the speaker and his top staffers were taking good care of the electric company in Springfield.
In the spring of 2014, Madigan took the lead on a resolution on behalf of Exelon that warned of “dire consequences” if the company’s money-losing nuclear power plants were to shut down.
Emails between Madigan’s top advisers and McClain show how they worked in tandem to silence dissent on the pro-bailout resolution by hand-picking the lawmakers who would get to vote on it in a legislative committee.
Ahead of the vote, Exelon had identified at least six Democratic members of the committee who were likely to vote against the company’s interests. In response, Will Cousineau, a high-ranking member of the speaker’s staff, suggested a plan to remove opponents from the committee for this one vote.
The next day the opponents Exelon had identified were substituted from the committee – and the resolution passed 16 to 0. Cousineau’s tactic delighted McClain so much, he wrote him, “I love you.”
Two years after that resolution was unanimously approved by the House Environment Committee, Exelon won legislative approval for a multi-billion-dollar ratepayer bailout.
Cousineau later left Madigan’s staff and became a lobbyist. His clients included ComEd.