(The Center Square) – An Exelon official testified before a legislative committee on Tuesday that the utility entered a deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors as a result of a nearly 10-year-long bribery scheme intended to influence House Speaker Michael Madigan, but said the utility didn't know if Madigan was aware of the effort.
In the first substantive testimony before the House Special Investigating Committee regarding the ComEd bribery scandal that federal prosecutors revealed this summer, committee chairman state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, asked utility executive David Glockner a direct question.
“There’s nothing anywhere in the deferred prosecution agreement that establishes personal knowledge by Speaker Madigan, correct?” Welch asked.
“I would agree with that,” said Glockner, executive vice president of compliance and audit for Exelon, the parent company of ComEd.
State Rep. Deanne Mazzochi, R-Elmhurst, went a bit further.
“Is it fair to say that Commonwealth Edison paid over $1.3 million at least in part to influence Michael Madigan’s actions as speaker of the house?” Mazzochi asked.
“Yes,” Glockner said.
Glockner said the utility believed one of Madigan’s allies was working at the behest of Madigan to secure bribes to favor the speaker’s associates.
The committee did not vote to subpoena Madigan or anyone else linked to the scheme.
The hours-long hearing included an opening statement from House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, but only after wrangling among committee members. Democrats said Durkin could be a witness and be asked to testify, though Durkin was not mentioned in the deferred prosecution agreement. Durkin filed the petition to start the investigating committee.
The committee also heard testimony from a ComEd official who said the utility paid $1.3 million to, in part, influence Madigan. Madigan and others have refused to testify voluntarily.
Republicans attempted to motion for subpoenas to force testimony from Madigan. In denying the motions, Welch said they’re looking for professional courtesy.
“That wasn’t done here,” Welch said after the hearing. “You don’t whip out subpoenas. You all were right there. You saw it. Boom. That was the first time I had seen them. I can’t tell you if they were really subpoenas or not.”
State Rep. Tom Demmer, R-Dixon, said the list of witnesses wasn't a surprise.
“If we thought it was a good idea to invite them to appear voluntarily, isn’t it a good idea to require them to come in to provide the information that we know that they have,” Demmer said.
It’s unclear when the next hearing will be, but it could include testimony from former ComEd executive Fidel Marquez, who pleaded guilty to bribery in the case Tuesday in federal court.
Madigan has not been charged with a crime and has said he has not done anything wrong.