CHICAGO (AP) – Federal prosecutors late Friday filed one count of conspiracy to commit bribery against Commonwealth Edison’s former chief lobbyist, a one-time powerhouse in Springfield.
Named in the four-page federal filing was Fidel Marquez, ComEd’s former senior vice president of governmental and external affairs from 2012 until his abrupt and unexplained departure from the company last September.
The specific kind of court filing naming Marquez is indicative of a likely guilty plea and is a clear tightening of the federal probe into potential wrongdoing by the longest-serving House speaker in American history.
Marquez reportedly attended January 2019 House inauguration ceremonies as House Speaker Michael Madigan’s guest and at his invitation, underscoring the close personal relationship between the two.
Prosecutors have said ComEd’s scheme began around 2011 – when key regulatory matters were before the Illinois House that Madigan controls – and continued through last year. Many of the illegal payments allegedly were arranged by downstate lobbyist Michael McClain, a key confidant and adviser at the center of the probe, according to court records. McClain also has not been charged.
The consultant said he believed McClain had spoken to Madigan about the payments, saying the money was “to keep (Public Official A) happy (and) I think it’s worth it, because you’d hear otherwise,” prosecutors alleged.