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Kidwell on Madigan

Thursday, Oct 15, 2020

* The BGA’s investigative reporter David Kidwell was interviewed by the Corporate Crime Reporter

Q: A friend who knows national politics, when I told him that Madigan was implicated in this Commonwealth Edison deferred prosecution, he said – Madigan is too smart and too careful to get caught in this kind of thing. Is that some kind of consensus politically in Illinois – he’s too careful to get caught at something like this?

A: “Absolutely. Mike Madigan doesn’t use email. He doesn’t text. I don’t want to be unfair to him. He’s an incredibly smart guy. He holds court in his office. He slices an apple while he’s listening to these things. He sends out what we call Madigan’s minions. All of the people implicated in this are people who used to be lawmakers who were mentored by Madigan and installed in large measure by Madigan. They are now lobbyists, many of them lobbyists for Commonwealth Edison. These connections and layers were built over decades.”

“The feds are probably not going to catch him on the telephone. They tried. They are not going to be able to document his electronic communications because he doesn’t have any.”

“This is all speculation, but I’m guessing they are trying to build a case with insiders. They are squeezing people – people like Mike McClain and Mike Zelewski. These are former politicians, long time Madigan allies, and Commonwealth Edison lobbyists.” […]

Q: Were these lobbyists wearing a wire inside Madigan’s office?

A: “We don’t know that. I don’t even know for sure who they have flipped, if anybody. We do know that they are squeezing people. They are issuing subpoenas and raiding offices of the people in Madigan’s orbit. How far they have gotten is difficult to determine.”

Thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

54 Comments »
  1. - Saluki Babe - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 3:07 am:

    I don’t believe the Mikes would wear a wire.


  2. - Independent - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 6:12 am:

    I think this will end like the investigations into Daley’s City Hall. The Feds will hit a wall in people who refuse to flip and it won’t reach the top.


  3. - Really - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 6:44 am:

    I don’t think they will get Madigan this time either, but does that make this kind of behavior less wrong? Does anyone believe that he didn’t know what was going on even if it can’t be proven? Isn’t it time for something different?


  4. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 6:55 am:

    === Does anyone believe that he didn’t know what was going on even if it can’t be proven?===

    You and the Tribune Editorial Board, Bruce Rauner, IPI… “you *all* live in the same dreamworld. It doesn’t matter what you all believe. It only matters what the Feds can prove.”

    ===Isn’t it time for something different?===

    Beat him. Raunerites seemingly can’t. You want different, either win elections or find 60 Dems that will flip the caucus, ‘cause with 74 seats (probably going to expand after November) they won’t cobble 60 with Raunerites when 15-17 Dems above the needed 60 could be seated and a shrinking Raunerite presence shouldn’t be rewarded with effectively choosing the Speaker with “Dems”

    You don’t cede power like that when consensus can happen with a vast super-majority


  5. - Big Jer - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 7:22 am:

    In the post Madigan comes across as Paul Sorvino’s mob boss character in the movie Goodfellas. All communication was done through intermediaries.

    Paul Sorvino as Paulie Cicero in Goodfellas:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-jhmkcOGAA


  6. - Marty36 - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 7:42 am:

    Speaker Madigan is not a crook. No matter how many times outsiders say he is. Imagine if the Feds held Trump to the same standards that they are trying to hold Speaker Madigan to? Once Trump is gone, so will be the “witch hunt” against Mike Madigan. Madigan is a politician, not a crime boss. Sad!


  7. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 7:57 am:

    I keep looking on my ballot, and never find Mike Madigan’s name. Maybe, the GOP should vote him out in his home district? That would be the quickest way to get rid of him. /S


  8. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 7:57 am:

    As the feds crash into the boulder painted like a tunnel, Mike Madigan goes “beep-beep” off into the sunset.
    Not defending or rooting for him, just seen this cartoon before.


  9. - Really - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 8:19 am:

    Oswego Willy,

    After reading your commentary for several years I wouldn’t expect you to agree, or even consider that it shouldn’t be so hard to do the right thing. Thinking like you and most Illinois Dems do must be why the state is in such a mess in the first place. And please, don’t blame everything on the last 4 years with Governor Rauner. Things were a mess long before he got here. Have a nice day.


  10. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 8:27 am:

    “blame everything on the last 4 years with Rauner”

    Can I blame Rauner for doubling our deficit?
    Because, he kinda did.


  11. - Jibba - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 8:32 am:

    ==Things were a mess long before he got here===

    Indeed. Ryan, Edgar, Thompson…


  12. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 8:36 am:

    === wouldn’t expect you to agree, or even consider that it shouldn’t be so hard to do the right thing.===

    These are legal questions, friend. What you think and what you can prove, there’s a difference, thank goodness for all of us, because the law shouldn’t be swayed by a “feeling”

    ===Thinking like you and most Illinois Dems===

    Again, I’m not a Dem, and if you are continually about what you “feel” versus what has been proven, yikes, it’s sad that your Lt. Commander Galloway “feelings” only will work… if Col. Jessup (Madigan) asks *you* if you can handle the truth.

    For the 5,835th time since July 18th, I think Madigan should resign. Please keep up.

    === Have a nice day===

    Leaving so soon? No Governor, ever, had a whole General Assembly session begin and end without a budget.

    It was never, ever, ever… that bad… ever.

    :)


  13. - Huh? - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 8:37 am:

    Really - What exactly did ruiner do to help the State of Illinois out of the fiscal morass that we were in at the start of his administration?


  14. - Wow - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 8:45 am:

    Reading that was a waste of 3 minutes. Can’t even spell Zalewski correctly. JHC


  15. - don the legend - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 8:48 am:

    Really: You have, like so many before you, just got picked off by Capital Fax’s version of Chris Kyle.

    OW hits his targets whether right in front of him or a mile away.


  16. - AlfondoGonz - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 8:57 am:

    Having worked for the Speaker, I’d be remiss not to say that my experience was one where it was understood that our opponents would claim corruption and therefore we had to conduct ourselves in such a manner as to not even allow for the appearance of it.


  17. - paul w, chicago - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 9:03 am:

    i have always believed that mike madigan assumes that everyone he talks to is wearing a wire. therefore, the only way they can bring an indictment is for one (or more) of his guys to claim that he directed them to broke the law. they’ll never get a conviction without back-up proof, and i don’t believe for a minute that they’ll ever get corroborating evidence.


  18. - Arock - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 9:12 am:

    Yep things have been messed up for a long time and the common denominator is the Democratic Majority in the legislature and a Speaker of the House who has been behind the financial mess from day one. The Democrats constantly whine about the Republicans not standing up to Trump while they kiss the *** of Michael Madigan and his corrupt power over them.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 9:16 am:

    === have been messed up for a long time and the common denominator is the… ===

    “Edgar” Ramp? Thompson? Ryan? Speaker Daniels? The decade of President Phillip?

    Your history book lacks institutional knowledge.

    (Tips cap to - don the legend -, humbly)


  20. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 9:37 am:

    It would be much worse than anyone else for Madigan to be guilty of corruption. The dude grew up in the Chicago Machine and the GA. If anyone should know how to avoid trouble, it’s him.


  21. - Frank talks - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 9:40 am:

    The Speaker in Ohio was caught because of his people flipping and a really sloppy trail.
    Madigan doesn’t have trails and his people aren’t flipping. If they were this would be done by now.


  22. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 9:42 am:

    ===the common denominator is the===

    Voters of Illinois.

    As much as folks like to gripe, this state has had decades of folks just shrugging their shoulders and pretending like that’s just the way things are and there’s nothing to be done about it.


  23. - Back to the Future - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 9:43 am:

    It would be nice if we could stop accusing OW of being a Dem.
    With respect, it is getting a little old.
    I understand that running into someone who has a sense of humor and claims to be a Republican can throw you off. Like that comet that shows up every 150 years it is very rare, but it happens. I actually know a few (not comets but Republicans with a sense of humor).


  24. - Rich Hill - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 9:51 am:

    ==Can’t even spell Zalewski correctly.–

    For a second, I had to wonder if the White Sox minor-league pitching coach was working for Madigan. I mean, it’s the right team for the ward.


  25. - Southwest Sider - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 9:55 am:

    Madigan’s actions reflect someone who routinely breaks the law. A type of sophisticated corruption.


  26. - DuPage Dave - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:07 am:

    I would like to know the following: What exactly did Madigan do that was criminal? What did Madigan receive as a benefit for his misdeeds? Who provided the benefit to Madigan?

    It seems like former associates of Madigan ended up with money for their involvement with ComEd. But the many news stories on the subject have been lacking in information about Madigan himself.

    I don’t mean to defend Madigan but comparisons to crime bosses seem a bit much given the lack of detail so far.


  27. - Annonin' - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:14 am:

    It is always fun to watch Kidwell try to rehab his now 10 year series that failed the test of reporting any real misconduct. With his coat and tie he looks like skid row type — sorta. It continues to remain entertaining to watch some believe the Trump Justice Dept. is on the square in IL while unbelieved in the other 50 states.
    It would be fun to know how many deferred prosecutions ComEd was offered by TDOJ?


  28. - Really - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:22 am:

    Jibba,

    Madigan, Cullerton, Harmon. And if you want to hit on other Democratic governments that are basically broke we can add Daley, Emanuel, Burke, Preckwinkle, Stroger…….. the list is long.


  29. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:26 am:

    === Harmon===

    Harmon has been Senate President for 13 minutes, and you bring up Daley and ignore 10 years of President Pate Phillip?

    You have do better than this, this isn’t even good Facebook drivel, lol


  30. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:29 am:

    - Really -

    Do you live in Chicago? Have you voted against any or all you cited in the Chicago/Cook County example?

    If so, who did you vote for?


  31. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:30 am:

    - Southwest Sider - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 9:55 am:

    Madigan’s actions reflect someone who routinely breaks the law. A type of sophisticated corruption.

    Proof?…or just reflection.

    Legal accusations require proof…still.


  32. - Ex minion - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:32 am:

    ===Having worked for the Speaker, I’d be remiss not to say that my experience was one where it was understood that our opponents would claim corruption and therefore we had to conduct ourselves in such a manner as to not even allow for the appearance of it.===

    Same, and I’d add. It was made crystal clear to us that if we stepped over the line, even a pinkie toe, and got caught, we’d go straight under the bus


  33. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:34 am:

    Mike Madigan is presumed innocent…until proved guilty…just like the rest of us.


  34. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:44 am:

    Pate Phillip left office in 2003 OW

    Were Illinois finances better or worse off than they are today?

    Obfuscation and misdirection are full time jobs apparently


  35. - Streator Cumudgeon - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:45 am:

    Maybe somebody who has followed this closer than I have can enlighten me on Mike Madigan’s legacy over the past 35 years.

    Just judging from our infrastructure and pension situations, you’d think Illinois isn’t in such good shape.


  36. - Nummy yummy - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:49 am:

    Im so glad that we all agree. Mike Madigan is an innocent, multi millionair, politcal power broker that didnt know nothing about nothing.


  37. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:53 am:

    Make sure you all stop by Menards today for some propane

    After all this gaslighting you have to be running low


  38. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 10:55 am:

    === Im so glad that we all agree.===

    Speak for yourself.

    As you speak for yourself here, not one comment was in concurrence with the ridiculousness you wrote.

    The adults are discussing legal innocence versus political accountability, with legal innocence trying to be usurped by “feelings”

    I feel Madigan should resign, and I also know the legal standards… thus far… are apparently not been met to a US Attorney’s faith in indictment.

    Your straw man is as phony as “Fire Madigan” is to a legal argument.


  39. - SAP - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 11:25 am:

    ==Mike Madigan is presumed innocent…until proved guilty…just like the rest of us.==

    See also: The Arroyo Rule


  40. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 11:26 am:

    “Pate Phillip [sic] left office in 2003 OW”

    And in 2003 the Edgar Ramp, which had the Pate Philip (one “l” not two) seal of approval, retirement contributions didn’t cover actuarial costs. That didn’t happen until Quinn, when retirement contributions quadrupled.


  41. - thisjustinagain - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 11:33 am:

    While the Feds would love to get Mike on a wire, they can build the case through other circumstantial evidence (and is just as admissible as direct evidence). In other words, If Mike walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and the jury believes he is a duck, he can be convicted. And if you believe nobody will squeal when facing prison, I’ve got a bridge in Alaska to sell you.


  42. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 11:34 am:

    See also: The Arroyo Rule

    Neither Opinions…Feelings…Rules…nor The Magic Eight Ball…trump Law…pardon the expression.


  43. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 11:36 am:

    ===Pate Phillip left office in 2003===

    Explain the decade Phillip was president and Madigan was Speaker… include Edgar.

    How did the “Republican Agenda” work out in the courts during the Speaker Daniels and President Philip time?

    How is that good governing with a great deal not passing legal muster?

    - Lucky Pierre -, be honest or gaslight yourself with the ignorance you seemingly don’t know or forget when constantly reminded.

    ===See also: The Arroyo Rule===

    … which puts “innocence until proven guilty” out on its ear… that Madigan “created”


  44. - Loop Lady - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 11:46 am:

    Must agree with OW on the mention of Harmon…really digging for dirt on that one Jibba…


  45. - Lucky Pierre - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 12:05 pm:

    Harmon has been in office long enough to give away the game plan

    A Federal bailout of Illinois pension debacle is the only way to unwind this mess created as a payoff to their government union political benefactors.


  46. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 12:12 pm:

    === Harmon has been in office long enough to give away the game plan===

    Granted, Harmon needs to remember his place, he’s not the Governor, and if he wants to be the governor, he should run for the office, otherwise staying in his lane should be the lesson learned… like I said… 13 minutes as President.

    The only thing I learned is Trumpkins and Raunerites want to defund the police… that’s not a good message, ask… Trumpkins and Raunerites… but, let’s not get bogged down with policy and budgetary issues, as it’s known Raunerites couldn’t tell the state Senate committee a single budgetary cut they had, so defunding the police without monies is ironically bitter to the politics of revenues.


  47. - Jibba - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 12:41 pm:

    Really- I am not ignoring that Dems contributed. I am pointing out that we are here due to the actions of both parties, more or less equally. You fail to see the impact that your party had, so I pointed it out. Log, eye, splinter, you know.


  48. - Jibba - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 12:46 pm:

    Furthermore, I will point out that Dems have been the party attempting fiscal responsibility by raising revenue to match expenditures. Rs have neither cut spending nor raised taxes, most recently exemplified by Rauner. I exempt the perfect 10.


  49. - SAP - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 2:10 pm:

    ===See also: The Arroyo Rule===

    … which puts “innocence until proven guilty” out on its ear… that Madigan “created”===

    For the record, I don’t even agree with the Arroyo Rule, but if it is going to apply to anyone, it should apply to the guy who created it.


  50. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 2:16 pm:

    I used to think Madigan was too smart to be caught, but all the questionable decisions by his lieutenants the last two or so years have disabused me of that notion. I think the Republicans’ strategy of avoiding actual issues and making everything about Madigan is not going to work on but though.


  51. - Mr Hobbs - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 2:23 pm:

    OW: It is clear as day to me the Feds are pursuing a case of Hobbs act extortion against the Speaker. He has to be the beneficiary. They have not invested this amount of time to end up empty handed.


  52. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 2:32 pm:

    === They have not invested this amount of time to end up empty handed.===

    They also gave ComEd a $200+ million break on fines, still, to your thought, and I’m not disagreeing in any stretch, mind you, as the Act reads;

    === a) Whoever in any way or degree obstructs, delays, or affects commerce or the movement of any article or commodity in commerce, by robbery or extortion or attempts or conspires to do so, commits, or threatens physical violence to any person or property in furtherance of a plan or purpose to do anything in violation of this section shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.===

    If we’re to discuss the bill Leader Durkin championed and celebrated his role in its passage… and Governor Rauner touted and made law with his signature… it seems less likely that one could say, by Durkin or Rauner’s eyes, that Madigan did or didn’t hinder or obstruct their own championing or work to its passage?

    The biggest thing, I feel, in a Madigan trial would be the entire lobbying process, from who you hire, to those who apply and get hired, and what access do lobbyists have and what influence does whom you hire make?

    Isn’t it the bread and butter of exceptionally gifted lobbyists… access and influence?

    With respect, I don’t think you’re wrong, I do wonder what all this will mean to the trade of lobbying if it gets to anything beyond “today”


  53. - RNUG - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 4:08 pm:

    == Yep things have been messed up for a long time and the common denominator is the Democratic Majority in the legislature and a Speaker of the House who has been behind the financial mess from day one. ==

    If we agree the Pension debt is the major cause of the State’s fiscal problems, then the initial blame goes back on Dan Walker and the GA that passed the FY75 budget shorting pension funding … and the previous 3 years GA’s that expanded programs and spent more money than the new income tax could sustain. Almost every Governor and GA since then has been complicit in adding to that problem. Some of them, like Edgar with the ramp and Blago with pension holidays and a revised ramp, really made it worse long term while making it appear better short term.

    Strictly from a fiscal perspective, the recent Governor’s that did the least financial harm were probably Ryan and Quinn.

    But there is plenty of blame to go around for both parties over the past 45 - 50 years.


  54. - RNUG - Thursday, Oct 15, 20 @ 4:12 pm:

    == It would be nice if we could stop accusing OW of being a Dem. ==

    Although we are out numbered, there are a few right leaning commentators here ;-)


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