Michael Madigan (D), the former speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives who held unchallenged power in the state for decades, was indicted Wednesday on federal racketeering charges, alleging that he participated in several bribery schemes.
A longtime confident of Madigan’s, Michael McClain, was also indicted.
Madigan has denied any wrongdoing.
Madigan, who represented the southwest side of Chicago for half a century, established a firm grip on power in the 1990s and used it to overwhelm governors of both parties, essentially dictating state policies from the lower house of the legislature.
He controlled Democrats’ access to campaign funds and endorsements, and until the last ten years, few Democrats aspiring to achieve elected office would dare criticize him. Governors who defied him on policy almost always saw their plans fail.
For years, Madigan was suspected of passing laws or promoting actions that would benefit his private law practice. Yet he escaped accountability; his daughter, the well-regarded Lisa Madigan, was the state’s attorney general for eight years.
A year ago, Madigan resigned his seat in the legislature after being ousted as speaker, following allegations of bribery involving the ComEd electricity utility, for which the company was fined $200 million after a federal investigation.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.