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Lawyers try to block ComEd $200 million fine payment, claiming it should go to victims instead

Friday, Aug 14, 2020

* Some heavy-hitter lawyers have filed suit to stop the federal government from collecting the $200 million ComEd fine because, they claim, it violates federal victim restitution law

Their argument is that ComEd effectively admitted to bribery, but at the same time CEO Joseph Dominguez and others separately have argued before state regulators and others that ratepayers suffered no financial damage in the scheme. The U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago, meanwhile, has failed to follow federal requirements that should favor restitution of victims over a fine that goes to the U.S. Treasury, according to the motion. […]

Federal law requires restitution of victims to take precedence over any fine payable to the government, the plaintiffs argued. “In the parties’ proposed resolution of this case, however, not a penny is going to alleviate any crime victim’s losses, including the state of Illinois and ComEd ratepayers,” according to the motion.

ComEd agreed with federal prosecutors’ assertion that its scheme provided the utility with at least a $150 million benefit.

“Illinois ratepayers have funded the $150 million ‘benefit’ defendant admits it sought as the quid pro quo for the multiple payoffs ComEd made in its bribery scheme,” the motion said. “It is noteworthy that the government had the opportunity to press restitution claims against ComEd, but it did not do so. By its inaction, and without lawful authority, the government apparently proposes to forfeit statutory restitution claims the non-federal victims have against ComEd, because the DPA provides not a cent for restitution. Essentially, the federal government is, without authority, monetarily preferring itself.”

Go read the rest.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

10 Comments
  1. - Benniefly2 - Friday, Aug 14, 20 @ 2:01 pm:

    So the lawyers would get 33% and each rate payer would get a check for like $6.57 after lawyer and processing fees? Pass.


  2. - Frumpy White Guy - Friday, Aug 14, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    I am easy. Just give me a cannoli and a hot cup of coffee.


  3. - SSL - Friday, Aug 14, 20 @ 2:19 pm:

    Don’t give it to the lawyers. Let the Feds use it to fund more investigations of corrupt politicians.


  4. - Back to the Future - Friday, Aug 14, 20 @ 2:22 pm:

    Good well written article. The background of the main lawyers are very solid.
    Actually the article indicates to me the suit makes sense and the lawyers are working in the public’s best interest.
    The Feds seem to be doing a very good job in highlighting and investigating who the puppets were in this bribery scheme along with taking action to pursue them in a criminal proceeding.
    The lawyers mentioned in the article seem to be aggressively pursuing the puppeteers.
    Long term pursuing the puppeteers would seem to have a more lasting effect.
    Politicians in Illinois go to jail all the time and, frankly, that doesn’t seem to slow down corruption in the state at all.


  5. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Aug 14, 20 @ 2:22 pm:

    “So the lawyers would get 33% and each rate payer would get a check for like $6.57 after lawyer and processing fees?”

    No. It’s not that kind of suit. There are no fees.


  6. - Ostomie Wedgie - Friday, Aug 14, 20 @ 2:22 pm:

    Attorneys are such wonderful philanthropists and always putting the good of the people ahead of their own financial gain.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 14, 20 @ 2:26 pm:

    I too could go for a cannoli… right now. Hot coffee, I’ll take a pass at the moment.

    To the post,

    I look at this from the punitive;

    It’s still $200 million.

    It’s still $200+ million, possibly, waived.

    Deciding everyone gets $9 dollars? Why?

    Heck, you call on a change and service, the customer rep might wave $50 in fees. What exactly is this but a metaphor of the absurd… $9 return on a bill and the rates far exceeding $9 in the possible windfall for ComEd?


  8. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, Aug 14, 20 @ 2:33 pm:

    I don’t know why people think this means everyone gets $9 or anything like that. The point, as I understand it is to make sure the Feds don’t get to take the $200 million to DC and instead keep it here in IL, whether through GRF or in some other way. Makes perfect sense to me. I never understood why the Feds should get to keep IL ratepayer money.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 14, 20 @ 2:35 pm:

    === The point, as I understand it is to make sure the Feds don’t get to take the $200 million to DC===

    Ok… to whom?

    ===whether through GRF or in some other way.===

    Legally, how can GRF be entitled?


  10. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Aug 14, 20 @ 3:10 pm:

    Fining corporations is useless. Executives going to jail has impact.


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