Rockford, Illinois News

Ex-ComEd executive pleads guilty in bribery scheme designed to benefit Michael Madigan

SPRINGFIELD — A former ComEd official entered a guilty plea Tuesday, marking the first conviction in a long-running bribery and patronage scandal designed to curry favor with House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The guilty plea came less than an hour before the start of a second House Special Investigating Committee into the scandal.

Former ComEd executive Fidel Marquez was charged with bribery earlier this month in federal court. Prosecutors claimed that for nearly a decade Marquez conspired “with others known and unknown” to solicit and demand things of value like jobs, contracts and money for the benefit of “Public Official A.”

Prosecutors didn’t name “Public Official A,” but identified the official as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. State Rep. Madigan, D-Chicago, has served as Speaker of the House for all but two years since 1983.

Marquez was the vice president of governmental and external affairs for ComEd from 2012 to September 2019.

The Chicago Tribune reported Marquez pleaded guilty to the charge on Tuesday. If Marquez cooperates, prosecutors will seek probation. That would be a major break in the penalties that could have added up to 34 years in prison and a $300 million fine, the Tribune reported.

Madigan has not been charged. He has said he has not done anything wrong.

The speaker is the subject of a House Special Investigating Committee that meets in Springfield Tuesday afternoon to hear testimony from a ComEd executive.

The committee could advance charges to a disciplinary committee, which could then advance a motion to the full House to punish the speaker.

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