(The Center Square) – Prosecutors played a series of secretly recorded phone calls for the jury in the Commonwealth Edison bribery case on Monday that featured former utility lobbyists and executives talking frankly about what it takes to get things done in Springfield.
Defendant Michael McClain, a former ComEd lobbyist and close associate of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, said in one phone call that he was willing to have a “daddy talk” with the utility’s incoming chief executive, Joe Dominguez.
“I wouldn’t trust Joe. I would trust Joe to think that this is a quid pro quo and that he’s wired,” McClain said.
Dominguez had worked as a prosecutor earlier in his career.
During the 2019 call, McClain also talked about how discreet he was and how his name was never in the newspapers. He didn’t know that federal agents were listening in or that the call would be played in court.
Earlier in the trial, a ComEd executive who cooperated with federal investigators referred to McClain as a double agent because at times it wasn’t clear if he was working in the best interests of the utility or Madigan.
Prosecutors have charged McClain, former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, former ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and former consultant Jay Doherty with conspiracy, bribery, and willfully falsifying ComEd books and records. Prosecutors claim the utility gave out jobs, contracts, and payments in exchange for favorable treatment on legislation in Springfield.
ComEd agreed to pay $200 million in July 2020 to resolve a criminal investigation into the years-long bribery scheme. As part of a deferred prosecution agreement, ComEd admitted it arranged jobs, vendor subcontracts, and payments in a bid to influence Madigan.
Madigan served in the Illinois House from 1971 to 2021. He served as speaker of the Illinois House from 1983 to 1995 and again from 1997 to 2021. He wielded additional power as chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois.
Madigan, who resigned from the legislature after losing the House speakership in January 2021, has been charged with 23 counts of racketeering, bribery, and official misconduct in a separate case that could go to trial in April 2024.
This article First appeared in the center square