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Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan resigns amid bribery and corruption investigation

Chicago Democratic State Representative Michael Madigan announced on February 18 that he would resign his seat in the Illinois legislature amid an ongoing investigation into alleged federal corruption and bribery.

« It has been a great honor for me to serve the people of Illinois as Speaker of the House and State Representative for District 22, » he said in a statement Thursday, adding that he is « at peace » with his decision to resign.

Madigan, a protégé of former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, had been the longest-serving Speaker of the House of Representatives in United States history with 50 years of service.

However, the 78-year-old Democratic lawmaker lost his bid to remain Speaker of the House last month when Democrats in the House backed Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch.

« Fifty years ago, I decided to dedicate my life to public service, » Madigan said in her statement Thursday.

“Simply put, I knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. So I believed and I continue to believe that it is our duty as public servants to improve the lives of the most vulnerable and help working people to build a good life ”.

Madigan did not explicitly state the reason for his departure, but acknowledged the federal investigation he faces.

“It is no secret that I have been the target of vicious attacks by people seeking to diminish my many accomplishments by uplifting the working people of Illinois,” Madigan said.

“The fact is, my motivation for elected office has never wavered. I have been determined in my dedication to public service and integrity, always acting in the best interests of the people of Illinois. « 

Madigan was first elected to the House in 1970 and served as its Speaker for all but two years since 1983, when Republicans gained control of the House.

However, his career has been tarnished after he was implicated in a long-running bribery scheme in July involving the state’s largest power company, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd).

Federal authorities have accused ComEd leaders of bribing Madigan’s associates in exchange for his organization’s help in passing favorable legislation.

The court filings did not name Madigan, but made it clear that he was the person in the documents referred to as « Public Official A ».

ComEd admitted that it secured jobs, often requiring little or no work, and contracts for its associates from 2011 to 2019 to receive favorable treatment in the regulations. ComEd agreed in August to pay $ 200 million to defer the indictment of a bribery charge that ComEd admitted, though that settlement did not exclude criminal charges against any individual.

Madigan has not been charged with any crime and has denied wrongdoing, but several former senior ComEd executives and Madigan associates have been charged, including his top political confidant, former lawmaker and lobbyist Michael McClain of Quincy.

Despite his resignation from the House, Madigan remains the chairman of the state’s Democratic Party and head of the 13th district Democratic organization.

Associated Press contributed to this report.