The Commonwealth Edison agreement with federal prosecutors gives Illinoisans $200 million reasons to demand legislators immediately get back to work on ethics reform.
ComEd admitted to federal prosecutors that it arranged jobs, vendor subcontracts and “monetary payments” associated with those jobs and contracts to various associates of a high-level elected state official to influence and reward the official’s efforts to help ComEd ’s dealings in the legislature.
Court documents identified the House Speaker as the highly placed official, but did not name him specifically and made no mention of any charges. However, House Speaker Michael Madigan confirmed that he was subpoenaed Friday morning and in a statement said he would “cooperate and respond to those requests for documents.” He also denied any wrongdoing.
But the implications of the federal investigation would make it unlikely that the nation’s longest-serving legislative leader could oversee ethics reform with any credibility. Furthermore, if the allegations against Madigan are found true, he must resign.
The ComEd mess is the latest in a long list of public corruption scandals that have gripped Illinois. The message to lawmakers should be loud and clear get to work on figuring out how to govern free of backdoor dealings and shady handshakes. Enough is enough. No more excuses, no more lame delays.
House Democrats particularly need to show they’re serious on the subject by publicly demanding reforms now and accepting no more delays from Madigan. It speaks volumes if they don’t act.
Really, how hard is it for lawmakers to commit to serving the people of Illinois with integrity and honesty? Is our longstanding history of breeding corrupt leaders so part of our DNA that it can’t be shed?
For the sake of the people of Illinois, it is time for politicians and public officials to stand up for what’s right. Get the ethics reform committee back to work on a comprehensive, bipartisan plan with real accountability. End public corruption in Illinois once and for all.
And Mr. Madigan, please step aside and let your colleagues lead the way to reform.