AT&T Illinois to pay $23M to settle corruption probe

Oct 14, 2022, 7:24 AM | Updated: 10:38 am

CHICAGO (AP) — AT&T Illinois has agreed to pay a $23 million fine to resolve a federal probe into its illegal efforts to influence former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, who also faces new charges for his role in the scheme, prosecutors announced Friday.

Under the agreement, the company admits that it arranged to make payments to an associate of Madigan, who was one of the state’s most powerful political figures at the time, in exchange for Madigan’s help in pushing through legislation favorable to the company, the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago said in a news release. In what could spell trouble for Madigan, prosecutors also said the company agreed to cooperate with any related investigations.

Madigan’s attorney, Sheldon Zenner, declined to comment when reached by phone.

In a separate release, the U.S. attorney’s office said that Madigan, who was charged in March for his alleged role in a nearly $3 million racketeering bribery scheme, was indicted by a federal grand jury for his role in the AT&T scheme. In a separate indictment unsealed Friday, the company’s former president, Paul La Schiazza, was charged with participating in the conspiracy and other offenses.

Madigan, 80, has had a dramatic fall from power since retiring under pressure last year and ending his run as the longest-serving speaker of a state House of Representatives in modern history. As the Democratic speaker of the solidly Democratic-led Illinois House, Madigan, nicknamed the velvet hammer, wielded immense power. His reward of campaign cash and choice legislative assignments helped let him determine which bills received a hearing and which didn’t.

In March, he was charged in an alleged racketeering bribery scheme involving utility Commonwealth Edison. According to prosecutors, Madigan used his speaker role and various other positions of power to further his alleged criminal enterprise. Those charges were filed after federal prosecutors announced in 2020 that the utility had agreed to pay $200 million and cooperate with an investigators of a years-long bribery scheme. McClain is charged in that case as is a lobbyist, a consultant and a former ComEd CEO.

The allegations against Madigan involving AT&T are similar. In their news release, prosecutors allege that Madigan and his close friend Michael F. McClain, who is also charged in both alleged schemes, “conspired with AT&T Illinois’s then-president to corruptly arrange for $22,500 to be paid at the direction of the company to the Madigan ally.”

According to prosecutors, AT&T admits that in 2017, it arranged for a Madigan ally to receive the payments through a lobbying firm that had done work for the company. Prosecutors contend that arrangement was made to “disguise” why the ally, who didn’t work for the company, was being paid.

On Friday, prosecutors announced that in exchange for agreeing to pay the fine, they suspended their criminal case against AT&T, which alleges that it used an interstate facility to promote legislative misconduct. If, after two years, the company “abides by certain conditions, including continuing to cooperate with any investigation related to the misconduct alleged in the information,” the charges will be dropped.

In a brief statement, AT&T said: “We hold ourselves and our contractors to the highest ethical standards. We are committed to ensuring that this never happens again.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

An Iranian flag and a scarf depicting U.S. flag are sold at the Souq Waqif Market in Doha, Qatar, T...
Associated Press

US-Iran match reflects a regional rivalry for many Arab fans

BAGHDAD (AP) — The U.S. team’s must-win World Cup match against Iran will be closely watched across the Middle East, where the two nations have been engaged in a cold war for over four decades and where many blame one or both for the region’s woes. Critics of Iran say it has fomented war and […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

Ex-majority leader jailed for DUI is leaving Kansas Senate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas lawmaker who was forced out of one of the state Senate’s most powerful jobs following an arrest for drunken driving and speeding the wrong way on two interstate highways is planning to leave the Legislature in early January. Former Senate Majority Leader Sen. Gene Suellentrop, a Wichita Republican, confirmed […]
11 hours ago
Community members, including Walmart employees, gather for a candlelight vigil at Chesapeake City P...
Associated Press

Survivor of Virginia Walmart mass shooting files $50M suit

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A Walmart employee who survived last week’s mass shooting at a store in Virginia has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the company for allegedly continuing to employ the shooter — a store supervisor — “who had known propensities for violence, threats and strange behavior.” The lawsuit, which appears to be […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

Defense: Man had no reason to help family in killings of 8

WAVERLY, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man accused of helping his family kill eight members of another family had no reason to take part and wasn’t even there, his attorney told trial jurors Tuesday during closing arguments. George Wagner IV, his brother and parents were charged in the 2016 shooting deaths of seven adults and […]
11 hours ago
China's President Xi Jinping arrives to attend the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting during the Asia-Pa...
Associated Press

China to increase nuclear warheads to 1,500, Pentagon warns

WASHINGTON (AP) — China is expanding its nuclear force and is on pace to nearly quadruple the number of warheads it has by 2035, rapidly closing its gap with the United States, the Pentagon said in a report released Tuesday. The report builds on the military’s warning last year that China is expanding its nuclear […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

Connecticut woman sentenced to year in jail for voyeurism

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — A wealthy Connecticut woman whose criminal case file was sealed from public view was sentenced Tuesday to one year in jail for secretly recording three people, including a minor, in a manner involving sexual desire. Hadley Palmer, 54, of Greenwich, appeared in Stamford Superior Court, where her lawyer had requested another […]
11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
AT&T Illinois to pay $23M to settle corruption probe