Republican lawmakers in DeKalb, Lee counties on Madigan indictment: ‘Should be wake-up call’

Madigan is charged with 22 counts including racketeering and bribery

State Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, speaks Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, during the opening ceremony for the 24-hour Veterans Vigil in front of the DeKalb County Courthouse in Sycamore. The vigil runs from 3:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, through 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6. A veteran will be standing guard at the courthouse during those hours in honor of the upcoming Veterans Day.

SYCAMORE – In a statement issued Wednesday on the indictment of former Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan charged with federal racketeering and bribery, Republican state Rep. Jeff Keicher said the news “should be a wake-up call.”

“Speaker Madigan’s indictment should be a wake-up call to all current legislators who enabled him and supported him during his tenure,” said Keicher, R-Sycamore, in a statement. “Putting trust and faith back into Illinois government through accountability is one of my missions.”

Keicher, who is seeking reelection, represents the 70th District, which serves portions of DeKalb, Boone and Kane counties.

Madigan, 79, is charged with 22 counts including racketeering and bribery, according to the indictment, which alleges the longest-serving House speaker in modern U.S. history participated in a long-running bribery scheme involving the state’s largest electric utility, Commonwealth Edison. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois announced the charges Wednesday afternoon.

Among the allegations includes claims that Madigan and others in his administration solicited special favor among ComEd lobbyists in Springfield in exchange for personal gains including securing jobs and contracts for people close them.

A spokeswoman for Madigan last year denied the ComEd-related allegations and said Madigan would cooperate with the investigation “which he believes will clearly demonstrate that he has done nothing criminal or improper.”

Tom Demmer, a Dixon Republican who is in the House leadership, said “justice will be served” on the occasion of the indictment of former House Speaker Michael J. Madigan on federal racketeering charges.

Demmer represents the 90th District which includes Ogle, Lee, DeKalb and La Salle counties. He is seeking the Republican nomination in the Illinois state treasurer race.

Demmer recounted serving on the House’s Special Investigative Committee that investigated Madigan after court filings in 2020 that detailed an influence scheme between ComEd and a person identified as “Public Official A.”

“Unfortunately, that committee was shut down after hearing from only one witness, and without ever bringing Rep. Madigan before the committee to answer questions,” Demmer said. “Thankfully, the U.S. Attorney’s Office performed their duty and conducted a thorough investigation, leading to today’s indictment. Justice will be served.”

Keicher said he participated last week in a debate surrounding plans to fill the vacant legislative inspector general role last week, and said that experience reinforced his goal to pass substantial ethics reform at the capitol.

Former Legislative Inspector General Carol Pope announced her resignation last July, and ended her time on the job in January. Pope served since 2019 in that position, which prior to her tenure was vacant for four years. The inspector general is tasked largely with investigating ethics complaints related to sitting lawmakers.

“Speaker Madigan evaded accountability for his actions for many years, but all of us who are serving in the General Assembly today must hold each other to a higher standard,” Keicher continued in his statement. “We cannot begin to restore public trust in state government until we do. Today the people have started their journey back to good governance in the land of Lincoln.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.