Feds Subpoena Speaker Michael Madigan For Records About AT&T, Walgreens, And Rush In Widening Probe

Michael Madigan in face mask
Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, listens to debate on in Springfield earlier this year. Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP, Pool
Michael Madigan in face mask
Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, listens to debate on in Springfield earlier this year. Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register via AP, Pool

Feds Subpoena Speaker Michael Madigan For Records About AT&T, Walgreens, And Rush In Widening Probe

Federal investigators pursuing possible corruption within Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s orbit subpoenaed his state office Friday, seeking records involving AT&T, Walgreens, Rush University Medical Center and a host of political operatives and lobbyists.

The stunning expansion of the federal probe came on the same day federal prosecutors in Chicago charged utility giant Commonwealth Edison with bribery and hit the company with a $200 million fine as part of a criminal legal settlement. The new areas of federal interest into some of the state’s most prominent corporations and one of its most noteworthy hospitals were identified in a sprawling request to Madigan’s office that also sought records about ComEd and its past executives.

Investigators also sought records pertaining to members of Madigan’s political organization, the speaker’s law firm, four former state lawmakers, four former or current Chicago alderman and a Chinatown land deal that was a cornerstone of a federal corruption probe that brought down former Ald. Danny Solis.

The subpoena also sought information from the Speaker’s office on some of his closest allies and operatives:

  • Will Cousineau, a former top Madigan aide-turned-lobbyist for ComEd. He became a lobbyist in 2017 after nearly 18 years as a Madigan aide, including an eight-year run as political director for the speaker and the Madigan-led Democratic Party of Illinois. Cousineau’s lobbying firm stopped representing ComEd in Springfield in October 2019, WBEZ has reported.

  • Frank Clark, who spent nearly five decades at ComEd, working his way up from the mailroom to become the company’s first Black chairman and CEO, from 2005 to 2012. In 2016, Clark and another ex-ComEd Exec, John Hooker, filed a lawsuit to block a legislative redistricting proposal that threatened Madigan’s grip on political power. Last year, WBEZ reported that Clark’s name appeared on a subpoena — along with Madigan’s — when federal agents raided the City Club of Chicago.

  • Frank Olivo, the former alderman of Madigan’s 13th Ward power base on Chicago’s Southwest Side. After leaving the City Council, Olivo became a City Hall lobbyist for ComEd, records show. The subpoena also sought records relating to a “Frank Olivo Jr.”

  • Ed Moody, a veteran precinct captain for Madigan who has been a Democratic Cook County commissioner and the county’s recorder of deeds. Moody has known Madigan since he was a boy and has referred to him as a father figure for him.

  • Shaw Decremer, a former top political operative for Madigan. The speaker said he cut ties with Decremer over alleged “inappropriate behavior” in 2016 but Decremer continues to lobby in Springfield. His clients have included gambling companies, Major League Baseball and the NBA, state records show.

  • Michael Zalewski, a former alderman from the 23rd Ward whose home was raided last year in the ComEd probe. Zalewski’s son is an important member of Madigan’s House Democratic caucus and his son’s wife, Carrie Zalewski, heads the state agency that regulates ComEd. WBEZ reported last month that Madigan recommended Carrie Zalewski to head the Illinois Commerce Commision before Gov. JB Pritzker appointed her to the post.

  • Ray Nice, another longtime Madigan precinct captain from the Southwest Side. WBEZ reported last year that Nice worked for ComEd.

  • Eddie Acevedo, a former Democratic state representative from Chicago who recently told the Chicago a Tribune that he did consulting work for ComEd.

  • The Reyes Kurson law firm and the Roosevelt Group, a lobbying company. Both those entities involve Victor Reyes, who once headed a scandal-scarred Hispanic political group in Chicago that was allied to Madigan and to former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

None of them immediately responded to WBEZ’s requests for comment Friday night.

The politically seismic request for documents came the same day that federal prosecutors in Chicago and ComEd issued a joint statement alleging the company has spent years making hires and contracts to please the Democratic Party boss to gain approval of friendly legislation in Springfield.

Madigan’s office released the subpoena late Friday after down-playing its scope in a statement about the misconduct allegations spelled out in the federal filing involving ComEd. Madigan’s earlier confirmation of multiple subpoenas said the requests pertained to, “among other things, documents related to possible job recommendations.”

The speaker’s office released only one of the subpoenas in response to an open-records request from WBEZ. Requests to Madigan aides for a subpoena to the Democratic Party of Illinois, which the speaker has chaired since 1998, went unanswered. A spokesman for the speaker’s law firm, Madigan & Getzendanner, declined comment when asked about whether it too had gotten a subpoena.

A Rush University Medical Center spokesman told WBEZ that it, too, had received a subpoena seeking “records reflecting work by, and communications with, certain government relations consultants” since 2014. The spokesman would not comment further, nor was the subpoena provided to WBEZ.

A Walgreens spokesman declined to comment. Representatives for AT&T of Illinois did not immediately respond to WBEZ’s request for comment.

Solis could not be immediately reached for comment.