Below are the guts of the plea agreement of former ComEd executive Fidel Marquez in the developing scandal involving Illinois’ top Democrat, Mike Madigan:
The charges are “conspiracy to commit bribery” to which Marque pleads guilty.
Beginning no later than in or around early 2012, and continuing through in or around 2019, in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, and elsewhere, defendant FIDEL MARQUEZ, conspired with Chief Executive Officer 1 (“CEO-1”), Lobbyist 1, Consultant 1, Individual 1, and others, to:
(a) corruptly solicit and demand, and to accept and agree to accept from another person things of value, namely, jobs, contracts, and monetary payments associated with those jobs and contracts, for the benefit of Public Official A and his associates, intending that Public Official A, an agent of the State of Illinois, be influenced and rewarded in connection with the business, transactions, and series of transactions involving things of value of $5,000 or more of the State of Illinois, namely, legislation affecting ComEd and its business, in violation of [Federal law]; and
(b) corruptly give, offer, and agree to give things of value, namely, jobs, contracts, and monetary payments associated with those jobs and contracts, for the benefit of Public Official A and his associates, with intent to influence and reward Public Official A, as an agent of the State of Illinois, in connection with any business, transaction, and series of transactions involving things of value of $5,000 or more of the State of Illinois, namely, legislation affecting ComEd and its business, in violation of [Federal law].
Between the 1980s and 2019, MARQUEZ was employed in various positions with ComEd, a utility that provided electricity to industrial, commercial and residential customers in northern Illinois, including about 70% of the population of the State of Illinois.
ComEd was a majority owned subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, a publicly traded for-profit corporation.
The State of Illinois regulated ComEd’s business activity, including the rates that ComEd charged its customers for electricity, as well as the rate of return ComEd realized from its business operations.
Legislation that passed through the Illinois General Assembly and became law had the potential to impact ComEd’s business activity.
In early 2012, MARQUEZ became ComEd’s Senior Vice-President of
Governmental and External Affairs. In that position, MARQUEZ oversaw ComEd’s lobbying activity before the Illinois General Assembly (in both the House of Representatives and Senate), the Illinois Governor’s Office, and various Illinois administrative agencies. ComEd’s lobbying team consisted of both full-time ComEd employees (“internal lobbyists”) and third-party individuals and firms under contract to perform lobbying services for ComEd (“external lobbyists”).
At times, ComEd also contracted with individuals and companies for the provision of political consulting services for ComEd. Under ComEd’s internal corporate structure, such political consultants, like the internal and external lobbyists, were supposed to be under MARQUEZ’s authority.
At the time MARQUEZ assumed his governmental affairs position, CEO-1 was the chief executive officer of ComEd. CEO-1 remained the chief executive officer of ComEd until on or about June 1, 2018, at which time CEO-1 became a senior executive at Exelon Utilities, which was the Exelon subsidiary with oversight of all of Exelon’s utilities, including ComEd.
CEO-1 remained a senior executive at Exelon Utilities until in or around October 2019.
Lobbyist 1 became ComEd’s Executive Vice-President of Legislative Affairs from in or around 2009, although he served in a similar role prior to that date and continued in that job until Lobbyist 1’s retirement in or around early 2012.
In that position, Lobbyist 1 was responsible for ComEd’s lobbying activity before the Illinois General Assembly, the Illinois Governor’s Office, and various Illinois administrative agencies.
Soon after Lobbyist 1’s retirement from ComEd, ComEd contracted
Lobbyist 1 (through a company controlled by Lobbyist 1) to serve as an external lobbyist for ComEd. Lobbyist 1 remained a contract lobbyist for ComEd until some point in 2019.
Consultant 1 was the owner of Company 1, which performed consulting
services for ComEd until in or around 2019.
At the time MARQUEZ assumed the position of Senior Vice-President of
Governmental and External Affairs, and continuing throughout the remainder of MARQUEZ’s employment with ComEd, Public Official A was the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.
As Speaker, Public Official A had the ability, using procedural mechanisms in the House of Representatives, to prevent legislation that
Public Official A opposed from moving forward.
Conversely, Public Official A could also serve as a very powerful and persuasive force to move legislation forward.
At the time MARQUEZ assumed his governmental affairs position, Individual 1 was serving as an external lobbyist for ComEd.
Individual 1 was a former member of the Illinois House of Representatives and a licensed Illinois attorney who, along
with Individual 1’s spouse, operated an entity (“Individual 1’s Firm”) that provided lobbying services.
Based upon his discussions with Individual 1 and others, MARQUEZ knew that Individual 1 had a close personal relationship with Public
Official A and, among other things, sometimes communicated on behalf of Public Official A.
After Individual 1 retired from lobbying at or near the end of 2016, ComEd contracted Individual 1 to provide political consulting services to ComEd.
Hiring of Public Official A’s Associates as Vendor “Subcontractors” Who Performed Little or No Work for ComEd
MARQUEZ agreed with others, including but not limited to CEO-1, Lobbyist 1, Consultant 1, and Individual 1, to arrange for various associates of Public Official A, including Public Official A’s political allies and individuals who performed political work for Public Official A, to obtain jobs, vendor subcontracts, and monetary payments associated with those jobs and subcontracts from ComEd, even in instances where certain political allies and workers performed little or no work that they were purportedly hired to perform for ComEd.
These acts were taken for the purpose of influencing and rewarding Public Official A in connection with his official duties as Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, and to assist ComEd with respect
to legislation affecting ComEd and its business that had a value of over $150,000,000.
One of the ways ComEd bestowed benefits upon Public Official A’s associates was by directing payments to them through third-party intermediaries. In certain instances, Public Official A’s associates were characterized as “subcontractors” for the third-party intermediaries, but, in fact, the associates of Public Official A often did little or no work for ComEd or the third-party intermediaries in return for the payments they were receiving from ComEd.
The ComEd payments intended for Public Official A’s associates were added to any existing amount due to the third-party intermediary in return for its otherwise contracted services.
The fact that third-party intermediaries were being used as conduits for payments to Public Official A’s associates, for the purpose of influencing and rewarding Public Official A, was not accurately presented or disclosed in the contracts and other internal company documents utilized to arrange for and authorize these payments.
One instance of such an arrangement was the provision of payments to political associates of Public Official A through Consultant 1’s company, Company 1.
The use of Company 1 as a third-party intermediary for ComEd payments to Public Official A’s associates began prior to the time that MARQUEZ assumed his role as ComEd’s Senior Vice-President of Governmental and External Affairs, and it continued into in or around 2019.
In or around 2013, MARQUEZ learned from Individual 1 that associates of Public Official A were receiving payments through Company 1.
In particular, at that time, Individual 1’s Firm was serving as a third-party intermediary to funnel ComEd payments to an associate of Public Official A.
Individual 1 requested of ComEd that the payments to that associate of Public Official A be shifted from Individual 1’s Firm to Company 1; in other words, Individual 1 asked that the associate of Public Official A be switched from being a “subcontractor” of Individual 1’s Firm to being a
“subcontractor” of Company 1.
In conversation, Individual 1 told MARQUEZ that two other associates of Public Official A were already receiving payments from ComEd
through Company 1.
Individual 1 did not describe any work that the Public Official A
associates were doing; rather, Individual 1 described their importance in terms of how close they were to Public Official A.
MARQUEZ agreed to facilitate the shift and took steps to effect Individual 1’s request and shift the associate of Public Official A from Individual 1’s Firm to Company 1.
Later, in or around 2016, MARQUEZ facilitated the movement of the
“subcontract” for the same associate of Public Official A who had been paid through Individual 1’s Firm and later Company 1, from Company 1 to another third-party intermediary.
In or around Spring 2018, CEO-1 told MARQUEZ that Individual 1 contacted CEO-1 and asked that another associate of Public Official A be hired by ComEd, meaning that the associate would begin to receive a stream of monthly payments from ComEd, in the same manner by which other associates of Public Official A were receiving payments from Company 1. CEO-1, Consultant 1, and MARQUEZ agreed to facilitate the payments by agreeing to amend Company 1’s contract to include
money intended as payment to the associate of Public Official A.
As with the ComEd payments being made to other associates of Public Official A through third-party intermediaries, as MARQUEZ understood, these payments were made to influence and reward Public Official A concerning legislation affecting ComEd.
On or about July 30, 2018, MARQUEZ caused a payment of $37,500 to be sent to Company 1, a substantial portion of which was intended for associates of Public Official A.
In each calendar year from 2011 through 2019, the State of Illinois annually received in excess of $10,000 in federal benefits.
Maximum Statutory Penalties
A maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment. This offense also
carries a maximum fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain [exceeded $150,000,000] or gross loss resulting from that offense, whichever is greater.
Anticipated Advisory Sentencing Guidelines Range
…anticipated advisory sentencing guidelines range of 324 to 405 months’
Defendant agrees he will fully and truthfully cooperate in any matter in
which he is called upon to cooperate by a representative of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. This cooperation shall include providing complete and truthful information in any investigation and pre-trial preparation and complete and truthful testimony in any criminal, civil, or administrative proceeding. Defendant agrees to the postponement of his sentencing until after the conclusion of his cooperation.