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Dupage Policy Journal

Friday, November 15, 2019

Congressional candidate Ives suggests 2016 Exelon bailout part of ongoing federal investigation

Local Government

By Glenn Minnis | Oct 23, 2019

Jeanne ives
Sixth Congressional District candidate Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton)

Sixth Congressional District candidate Jeanne Ives argues that Illinois taxpayers don’t need a sweeping federal investigation, even one where longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) is rumored to be one of the targets, to tell them something they already know.

“Illinois taxpayers don’t need a federal investigation to know that they have been fleeced by big government that is in bed with big politicians and certain big corporations,” Ives, a former Republican state representative in the 42nd District and 2018 primary challenger of then-Gov. Bruce Rauner, told the DuPage Policy Journal. “They see it in every tax bill and in the cost of services.”  

WBEZ reports that Madigan, now the longest serving House Speaker in state history, was recently named in a federal subpoena served to City Club, a prominent Chicago public affairs organization with longstanding political hiring and contracting ties with Commonwealth Edison. Reports are that the subpoena was delivered at the same time federal agents executed a search warrant on ComEd’s downtown Michigan Avenue office and that Madigan’s name was one of up to 20 that were listed in subpoena documents. 

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago)

The news comes as the latest sign that federal agents may be zeroing in on Madigan, arguably the most powerful lawmaker in the state, at the heart of their probe.

“The obvious collusion among these players to pass what they want regardless of the cost to people is evident to anyone who ever sat in on a committee hearing or watched floor debate on significant bills,” Ives said. “They ran through the legislation haphazardly because they can. If voters only knew, they would vote them out of office.”

Back in May, federal agents walked out with loads of documents and computer equipment following their raid on City Club offices in the Wrigley Building. The president of the civic group, widely seen as a must-stop speaking venue for Illinois’ political movers and shakers, is Jay Doherty, a top lobbyist for ComEd.

Sources told WBEZ the raid stemmed from allegations that ComEd has long been in the business of hiring politically connected individuals in consulting jobs where they are required to do very little in exchange for favorable government actions like rate increases. Around the same time that the City Club subpoena was delivered, agents also conducted several other raids, including on the home of retired Chicago Ald. Michael Zalewski, a longtime political associate of Madigan’s. 

Several media outlets have reported that at the center of that part of the probe are efforts to get work for Zalewski at ComEd. Yet another raid was executed on the home of Kevin Quinn, another longtime Madigan operative and the brother of 13th Ward Chicago Ald. Marty Quinn.

During Doherty’s tenure, former ComEd and Exelon Utilities Corp. executive Anne Pramaggiore spoke at the City Club on five separate occasions. Earlier this month, she abruptly announced her retirement as chief executive of Exelon.

In a statement, Ives sought to remind everyone that she has always been leery of some of the ties between ComEd and state lawmakers.

“Remember the Exelon bailout bill that gave them a $2.4 billion subsidy in 2016?” she said. “The lobbyists were thick as thieves in Springfield trying to pass it. Rauner signed it. Republican leaders pushed it, and all the weak-kneed legislators fell in with the program. This was the bipartisan combine at work in Illinois. And now we have the Feds snooping around. I bet it is related to the passage of that bill. ” 

More recently, the FBI raided the home and offices of state Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago), who up until recently also served as chairman of the powerful Senate Transportation Committee. Among the records sought by investigators are said to be documents relating to four unidentified Exelon officials.

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