© 2023 NPR Illinois
The Capital's NPR Network Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
This I Believe submission deadline Wednesday, October 4, 11:59 p.m. Click here.

Ex-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is indicted on federal racketeering charges

Former Speaker of the House Michael Madigan parks in the garage at his Southwest Side home, Wednesday afternoon, March 2, 2022.
Ashlee Rezin / Chicago Sun-Times
Former Speaker of the House Michael Madigan parks in the garage at his Southwest Side home, Wednesday afternoon, March 2, 2022.

Former Illinois House Speaker and ex-Democratic Party boss Michael Madigan was indicted Wednesday in federal court with racketeering, allegedly for taking part in bribery schemes for his own personal gain, according to the indictment.

In unsealing the long-anticipated case, federal prosecutors targeted a Chicago legend who rose from the Southwest Side’s Democratic ward politics to become the most influential figure at the Illinois Capitol for decades.

The prosecution of Madigan — who set a national record by serving as House speaker for 36 years — represents the most significant corruption case in the notoriously toxic world of Chicago and Illinois politics since the conviction a decade ago of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

But Madigan, 79, appears determined to fight the charges aggressively. He has repeatedly professed his innocence in a series of statements, even as the sprawling federal probe penetrated his inner circle and inched steadily closer to turning him into a criminal defendant.

Prosecutors from the office of U.S. Attorney John Lausch, who’s the top federal prosecutor in northern Illinois, leveled the allegations more than a year after Madigan lost his speaker’s gavel and he gave up his seat in Springfield after 50 years as a state representative.

The charges against Madigan were widely speculated since ComEd admitted in 2020 to bribing him. Although Madigan was not explicitly named in court records until now, the prosecutors clearly referred to Madigan in their repeated

descriptions of a “Public Official A” who benefitted from ComEd’s bribery.

This is a developing story.

Copyright 2022 WNIJ Northern Public Radio. To see more, visit WNIJ Northern Public Radio.

Dan Mihalopoulos
Dave McKinney
Tony Arnold covers Illinois state politics for WBEZ. His investigations have ranged from the multiple Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks at the Quincy veterans’ home that resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen residents, to documenting an increase in the deaths of children who had contact with Illinois’ child welfare system. He’s also covered the unprecedented two-year state budget impasse, Chicago mayoral elections, national political conventions, and he’s edited the daily news desk. He’s won numerous Illinois AP and Peter Lisagor awards for his reporting. Tony has a B.A. in American Studies from Miami University. He’s previously worked at WNIJ in DeKalb, IL and WMUB in Oxford, OH. His first job in journalism was as a stringer, recording stats for local high school sports.