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How Madigan helped take care of ComEd/Exelon while the company took care of his people

Friday, Feb 21, 2020

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Motambe - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:11 am:

    You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. The tradition continues.

  2. - Rejected - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:13 am:

    The thing that most surprised me is they got 1,200 pages of documents in 2 weeks. That seems like a FOIA record.

  3. - Sue - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:13 am:

    None of what is described here is illegal UNLESS Comed in exchange hired Madigan people or made contributions - proving that is hard without a cooperator or tapes. The feds looked at Blagojovich for years but couldn’t proceed until they had Wyma provide the basis for the phone taps

  4. - Rejected - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:15 am:

    Also surprising the very end of the article:

    “I have consulted with the Speaker regarding your FOIA request concerns,” Madigan’s counsel, Justin Cox, wrote on Feb. 13, “and the Speaker directed me to turn over all responsive public records with as few redactions as necessary.”

    The wording suggests Madigan told them to disclose and hide nothing.

  5. - Back to the Future - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:15 am:

    I read the whole article and am so glad the folks at WBEZ are on this story.
    It is a long article but is worth the time it takes to read it. Many of these emails are very unsettling.

  6. - Nat Sound - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:18 am:

    The WBEZ crew is just out-working most of the rest of the city on these stories. These scoops aren’t source handouts.

  7. - SAP - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:21 am:

    Agree on the plaudits for WBEZ.

    Why didn’t the Speaker make Mike McClain watch Goodfellas?

  8. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:22 am:

    === None of what is described here is illegal UNLESS…===

    Yeah, and I think that’s why even as late as last Friday you have subpoenas going out and looking for what can be constituted as illegal activity and further illegal activities of an organization working in concert with a corporation.

    I have no idea how this will be pieced together, but this is not great news for any of those folks.

    To the Post? Welp, 1,200 emails.

    Whoever taught Mike McClain “how” to email and the ins and outs of what should be in emails failed so colossally, it’s worse then the “underboss in KC“ and his ledger of trips to Vegas for the “guys back home”

    The sheer amount of emails/documents and the lack of “actual” Madigan emails to McClain, talk about using buffers. Wow.

    Also, Dave McKinney, Tony Arnold, et al… wow. What great work. Kudos doesn’t begin to cover it.

  9. - A Guy - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:26 am:

    ==“I love you.”==

    No 3 words in this language or any other are greater than these. Oy.

  10. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:27 am:

    Still hard to believe they were all dumb enough to put this stuff in email. Didn’t any of them realize there was a good reason that Madigan never used email or carried a cell phone? The stupidity of Mapes here is especially astounding. McClain, yeah, I can see him doing it - but Mapes? C’mon man

  11. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:28 am:

    A trend I enjoy recently is the use of the word crime as other than a noun. That said given McClain’s verbosity in his emails, I fully expect some to read like this:

    Re: Crimes

    I am out here criming on the crimes we discussed. Please confirm your approval to do the crimes.

  12. - Oak Parker - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:44 am:

    Unless the Feds arrest him, none of this ends the Speaker’s reign. Democrats need union money to run their campaigns and unions are loyal to the Speaker.

  13. - Pundent - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:58 am:

    =Still hard to believe they were all dumb enough to put this stuff in email. Didn’t any of them realize there was a good reason that Madigan never used email or carried a cell phone?=

    Bosses tend to be very careful. That’s how they remain in power. They’re usually taken down by stupid underlings. Not saying that’s the case here, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me.

  14. - Professor - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:59 am:

    Nothing, as yet, is illegal. The staff is working to support a position. Unethical yes, but it is the Springfield way, has been since the first session in 1818.

  15. - Anonymouse - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 11:01 am:

    Drip, drip, drip.

    Rinse and repeat.

  16. - Responsa - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 11:05 am:

    “Back scratching” and “hints” used to be so much easier to maneuver privately before the age of E-mail. It amazes me how many pols and hangers on simply seem not to get this obvious fact.

  17. - Captain Rutro - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 11:11 am:

    @ rejected; I’m not so sure I’d agree, I’d like to see the FOIA, and original “stonewalling”/protests.
    “and the Speaker directed me to turn over all responsive PUBLIC records with as few redactions as necessary.” There’s been a long dispute as to whats a public record with Brown/Madigan/Dem Party/etc..

  18. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 11:24 am:

    When the leader of the Illinois Dems has to constantly put out statements like:
    “The speaker has said he has done nothing wrong and did not believe he was a target of any probe”
    JB and other Dems with positive approval ratings need to act.

  19. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 12:07 pm:

    ==- Professor - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 10:59 am:==

    There are also 49 other states plus DC where this is going on.

  20. - Sue - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 1:02 pm:

    Madigan is clearly a subject of this investigation. You don’t get elevated to target until your indictment is imminent

  21. - Loop Lady - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 1:23 pm:

    Has Madigan pushed for his people to be appointed to the Illinois Commerce Commission? If so, can you say rate increase? Who has sponsored legislation hiking up electrical rates in the past several years? Inquiring minds want to know.

  22. - Save Ferris - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 1:49 pm:


    What will Madigan be indicted for? Please enlighten us.

  23. - Sue - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 2:34 pm:

    I didn’t say he would be indicted. I said he is a subject of a criminal investigation

  24. - Fav human - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 2:39 pm:

    If Madigan is indicted, admittedly a very big if, Rod won’t be the only former Governor being obnoxious in front of TV cameras.

  25. - low level - Friday, Feb 21, 20 @ 4:31 pm:

    Swapping out committee members opposed w those who will support something. Old trick. Its one of the bad things about the committee process in Springfield. Temporary assignments shouldn’t be allowed except for illness and even then I’m
    not certain.

    I dont understand why they didnt just assign it to a committee with legislators who supported the bill. One or two wouldnt have raised eyebrows, but six? Then McClain loves Will. That’s wonderful. Next time, Mike, get him some flowers and stay off the email. Idiot.

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