Bipartisan Bribery Scandals Envelop Two State House Speakers
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
Powerful lawmakers in Illinois and Ohio have been caught up in bribery scandals linked to nuclear power plants in their respective states.
The R Street Institute’s Josiah Neeley and Mike Howe report:
On July 17, electric utility Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) admitted in court documents that it had directed jobs and contracts to associates of Illinois speaker Michael Madigan (D) in exchange for favorable treatment by the legislature, such as approval of rate increases. ComEd is paying a $200 million fine to avoid prosecution. Madigan has denied the charges.
The situation in Ohio is even wilder. The 82-page criminal complaint for federal racketeering, money laundering and bribery alleges that the speaker of the Ohio House [Larry Householder (R)] essentially set up a “dark money” account into which eventually was poured over $61 million by a power company and others that stood to benefit from legislation. The money was used partly to finance primary candidates over an election cycle to secure the vote for the top leadership position in the Ohio House of Representatives. Perhaps even more disgusting, the bulk of it, $38 million, was allegedly used for ads to defeat a referendum attempt and to harass and buy off signature gathers who were trying to keep the legislation from going into effect via a vote of the people.
The Ohio case is called “the largest bribery, money-laundering scheme against the people of the state of Ohio.”
In Illinois, Speaker Madigan said he’s done nothing wrong. Some Democrats say Madigan should resign both his speakership and his post as state Democratic Party chairman.
Image Credit: By Jericho [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons