From The Center Square:
Corruption expert: Cases ‘funneling down’ and ‘coming to a head’ in Illinois
(The Center Square) – A fraud and corruption expert says, with the multiple venues looking into House Speaker Michael Madigan’s involvement in a nearly 10-year-long bribery scheme that federal prosecutors unearthed, he expects there will be some kind of accountability.
After a series of Illinois statehouse Democrats were charged with unrelated federal crimes, in July federal prosecutors released a deferred prosecution agreement with ComEd where the utility agreed it took part in a nearly decade-long bribery scheme to give Madigan allies jobs in exchange for favorable legislation.
Saint Xavier University Professor David Parker said the foundation is pretty well laid in a civil racketeering case against Madigan and ComEd, and in a federal case with former ComEd executive Fidel Marquez pleading guilty in the case in federal court Tuesday.
“I think what it’s really doing is holding people accountable,” Parker said. “It’s kind of funneling down and finally going to come to a head. Whether or not there’s enough pressure on Madigan to say ‘ok, let’s make some type of deal,’ or it goes to trial.”
Another avenue is the House hearings legislators are holding to investigate Madigan.
Parker said there’s still a criminal case.
“The other cases moving forward, especially the federal case, it looks like there’s going to be some accountability,” he said.
Madigan has not been charged with a crime and maintains he’s done nothing wrong.
Parker said the corruption unearthed at the statehouse seems to be systemic.
“Voters, taxpayers, individuals, the social contract is people want more transparency, but certainly accountability,” Parker said.
With the heightened awareness about multiple cases of corruption and alleged corruption in state government, Parker said people aren’t looking for perfection.
“But they’re not going to tolerate, hopefully, corruption or self-dealing,” Parker said.
“Sometimes it’s a matter of it could be legal but that doesn’t mean it’s ethical and there’s some more focus on ‘OK, we’ve had enough of playing the loopholes, we’re looking for some personal integrity.’”
He said he hopes the series of corruption charges and allegations put the message out there that bad actors will be held accountable.