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Madigan's Right-Hand Man Indicted For Lying To Grand Jury In ComEd Bribery Investigation

May 27, 2021
Originally published on May 27, 2021 12:30 pm

A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted former House Speaker Mike Madigan’s longtime chief of staff for lying under oath during the grand jury’s investigation of electric utility Commonwealth Edison’s admitted bribery scheme benefitting Madigan.

Tim Mapes, who served as Madigan’s chief of staff from 2001 until his ouster after sexual harassment allegations in 2018, was testifying under an immunity order in late March, meaning he was immune from prosecution in exchange for information. Mapes was told he could be prosecuted if he lied in the proceeding.

But according to the grand jury’s indictment, Mapes lied anyway while answering questions about the relationship between Madigan and his longtime confidante Mike McClain, who was indicted along with three other former ComEd lobbyists and executives in November for allegedly orchestrating the bribery scheme. 

Read more: Key Madigan Ally, ComEd Lobbyists And Official Indicted In Federal Bribery Scheme

Read more: Madigan Declines To Step Aside Even After Allies Indicted, Calls For His Resignation

Read more: Pritzker Calls On Madigan To Resign If He Can't Explain Role In ComEd Bribery Scheme

Madigan has not been charged, but the recency of Mapes’ testimony makes it clear U.S. Attorney John Lausch has continued to pursue the case after Democratic U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth asked President Joe Biden’s Justice Department in February to spare the Trump appointee’s job to allow Lausch’s continued investigations into possible public corruption.

The longtime speaker failed to garner enough support to win him a historic 19th term as House Democratic leader in January after a growing number of his members publicly vowed to not re-elect him as speaker. He stepped down from the legislature and as head of the Democratic Party of Illinois in February, seven months after federal prosecutors revealed Madigan as “Public Official A” — the alleged target of ComEd’s years-long bribery scheme.

Read more: Welch Sworn In As House Speaker, Ending Madigan’s Decades-Long Hold On Illinois Politics

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Read more: Madigan Suspends Campaign For Speaker After Falling Short On Votes, But Isn't Officially Out

In July, ComEd signed a $200 million deferred prosecution agreement acknowledging its executives and lobbyists had arranged jobs and contracts for Madigan allies in an attempt to curry favor with the powerful House speaker since at least 2011.

The 11-page indictment charges Mapes with one count each of perjury and obstruction of justice.

Mapes’ attorneys disputed the charges, saying his “honest recollections in response to vague and imprecise questions about events that allegedly took place many years ago simply do not constitute perjury.”

“This case, of course, is not about him — but about the government’s continued pursuit of his former boss,” Mapes’ attorneys said in a statement, referring to Madigan. “Tim Mapes has in no way engaged in obstruction of justice and looks forward to prevailing at trial when all of the facts are aired.”

Chief of staff to Madigan wasn't Mapes' only job before his 2018 resignation. At the time, he was also executive director at the Democratic Party of Illinois, where Madigan was chair, and clerk of the Illinois House.

The indictment opens another window into the feds’ continued investigation that’s drawn ever-nearer to Madigan since the initial slow drip of news reports of raids on allies of the former speaker in the summer of 2019. The special grand jury that indicted Mapes has been active since January of that year.

Mapes’ testimony highlighted in the indictment centers around whether McClain continued serving as an “agent” of Madigan after his retirement as a ComEd lobbyist in 2016. 

Madigan and McClain served in the Illinois House in the 1970s. McClain went on to a long career at ComEd.

Asked about his friend’s retirement at the time, Madigan said McClainhad an outstanding career as a legislator and a lobbyist, operating with complete honesty and integrity.”

But after his retirement as an official lobbyist, McClain was still retained as a consultant — a job description self-styled political reform groups have taken to calling a distinction without a difference.

The grand jury asked McClain whether Madigan ever directed McClain to interact with House members or “perform sensitive tasks” or “exercise [Madigan’s] power and authority.”

Additionally, Mapes was asked whether McClain assisted Madigan with issues before the Illinois House or within the House, whether McClain “performed any work…or received assignments from [Madigan] between 2017 and 2019” and whether Madigan used McClain “as a means of communicating messages” during that time period.

Madigan infamously eschewed communication technology that could be easily tracked like cell phones and email. 

“So one of the things we were trying to figure out, Mr. Mapes, is whether or not — kind of a key issue for us — is whether or not [McClain] acted as an agent for [Madigan] in any respect,” the grand jury told Mapes, according to the indictment, adding they were particularly interested in 2017, 2018 and 2019. 

“Are you aware of any facts that would help us understand whether or not, in fact, [McClain] acted as an agent or performed work for [Madigan] or took direction from [Madigan] in that timeframe?” the grand jury asked Mapes.

Mapes answered that he didn’t know “who you would go to other than” Madigan and McClain.

“[Madigan], if he had people do things for him like I did things for him, was — didn’t distribute information freely,” Mapes replied, according to the indictment.

The grand jury asked Mapes several variations on the same question surrounding whether he knew whether McClain was working with or on behalf of Madigan in any capacity.

“I’m not aware of any,” Mapes said replying to one version of the question. “I’m not aware of that activity. Let’s put it that way.”

However the indictment says Mapes did, in fact, have intimate knowledge that McClain was working on Madigan’s behalf, as Mapes was the one who was fielding those calls and emails from McClain.

Communication between Mapes and McClain continued even after Mapes resigned as Madigan’s chief of staff in June 2018, about a week after lawmakers’ spring legislative session concluded. Mapes was accused of sexual harassment over several years and fostering “a culture of sexism, harassment and bullying that creates an extremely difficult working environment.”

The feds also wiretapped McClain’s phone, as reported by the Chicago Tribune in Nov. 2019.

McClain allegedly told Mapes about discussions he and Madigan had, and also described the tasks Madigan asked Mapes to perform, according to the indictment. McClain also asked Mapes’ advice about those matters, prosecutors alleged. 

Mapes was served with a grand jury subpoena to testify on Feb. 12, according to the indictment.

Six days later, Madigan resigned from the House.

Read more: Madigan Resigns After 50 Years In Legislature — One Month After Being Forced Out As House Speaker

Read more: Ex-Speaker Madigan Chooses 13th Ward Protege To Replace Him After 50 Years In House

Read more: Madigan's Handpicked Successor Resigns Less Than Three Days After Appointment

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McClain and three other former ComEd lobbyists and executives he was charged with have maintained their innocence, while Ex-ComEd Vice President Fidel Marquez pleaded guilty to a corruption charge connected to the scheme in September and is cooperating with prosecutors.

Read more: Madigan Shielded From Answering To Role In ComEd Bribery Scheme As Allies Halt Investigation

Mapes’ indictment comes as lawmakers are wrapping up the final six days in their regular spring legislative session, tackling divisive issues that Mapes, Madigan and McClain had major sway over for decades: legislative redistricting and energy policy, that has traditionally been dominated by ComEd, its parent company Exelon and downstate energy giant Ameren, among others.

Republicans on Wednesday pounced, asking their Democratic colleagues to leave Madigan — and his tactics, particularly on redistricting — behind. 

“Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss,” State Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield) said Wednesday quoting from The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

Butler opened Wednesday afternoon’s second day of marathon redistricting hearings reminding his colleagues that Mapes was a key architect of the House Democrats’ mapping strategy a decade ago.

“Well the old boss is gone but the new boss has the same old boss’ ways,” Butler continued quoting from the song. “And it came home to roost today in the indictment of the man who used to run this entire operation and whose shadow is cast across these proceedings today because it’s the same way that the majority is doing business as they’ve always done. It’s time to change. People want change.”

House GOP Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) issued a brief statement alleging Mapes' indictment underscored an unfounded allegation that Madigan operated a "criminal enterprise...under the [Capitol] dome.

The Illinois Republican Party used similar verbiage in a fundraising email after Mapes' indictment, claiming criminal charges against the former speaker are a sure bet.

"With Mike Madigan’s official criminal charges imminent, there is no better time than NOW to capitalize on the exposing of the Illinois Democrat Crime Ring," the email from Illinois GOP Chairman Don Tracy said. "We need you."

This story has been updated to clarify Exelon was not party to ComEd's deferred prosecution agreement.

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