Greising: The Feds Have Snagged Madigan. It’s Time for Springfield To Take Ethics Seriously

Gov. J.B. Pritzker and legislative leaders have had plenty of time to conduct a major ethics overhaul. But that hasn't happened.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (Bloomberg via Getty Images)

BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

More than 18 months have passed since Michael Madigan first showed up as “Public Official A” in the federal corruption case involving Commonwealth Edison. On Wednesday, federal authorities finally indicted the former Illinois House speaker on multiple charges of public corruption. They placed him at the head of an alleged “criminal enterprise.”

Even though many of the alleged bad acts were known, due to the criminal complaint against ComEd, its president, Anne Pramaggiore, and three others, the Madigan indictment provided new and telling details, to be sure.

Contrary to the myth that Madigan was too smart to leave tracks, for example, the former House speaker actually did use the phone, and federal wiretaps apparently recorded him uttering words that advanced the alleged corruption scheme. There are no Madigan emails cited, but in several incidents cited in the indictment, he essentially dictates an email that advances an allegedly illegal scheme.

Eighteen months is a long time. Certainly that was long enough for Gov. J.B. Pritzker and legislative leaders to conduct a major ethics overhaul.

Read more at the chicagotribune.com.