Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan — once known as the most powerful state politician in the country — was indicted on racketeering and bribery charges relating to his numerous “pay to play” schemes.

Madigan served for 40 years as House speaker, during which time he made or broke the political careers of dozens of politicians. His long reach was also felt by just about any company that wanted to do business with the state of Illinois.

Of course, this is what gave him so many opportunities to enrich himself.

Fox News:

The 22-count indictment alleges Madigan and co-defendant Michael McClain ran a criminal enterprise between 2011 and 2019, soliciting bribes and financial awards for him, his associates and his law practice, with McClain carrying out illegal activities at Madigan’s behest.

“Madigan and McClain allegedly caused various businesses, including the utility company Commonwealth Edison, to make monetary payments to Madigan’s associates as a reward for their loyalty to Madigan, at times in return for performing little or no legitimate work for the businesses,” The U.S. Justice Department said.

He is also accused of illegally steering private legal work to his law firm, including from those with business before the state and Chicago.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker ludicrously tried to take credit for the indictment, despite the fact that the investigation predated his taking office and that it was the U.S. Department of Justice — not an Illinois prosecutor or investigative agency — who took down Madigan.

“I’ve been saying for years now that we’ve got to root out corruption wherever it exists, and it’s why we’ve passed and I’ve signed ethics reforms in the state of Illinois,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday.

Republicans seized on Madigan’s ties to Pritzker, who is up for re-election this year. Madigan helped Pritzker with important legislation during his first year in office, according to FOX 32.

Pritzker has a short memory if he forgets those millions of dollars in contributions from Madigan’s PACs as well as donations from political and business cronies who helped elect the current governor.

Republicans will try to remind voters of that.

“This 22-count federal indictment against former Democrat Speaker Michael Madigan is the beginning of the power cleaning so desperately needed in Illinois government,” he said. “But this is not just an indictment against Michael Madigan. It’s an indictment against the Democrat Party of Illinois that he ran for decades.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin said Madigan had a “destructive 40-year reign” and accused Pritzker of standing by, “enabling Madigan with millions in campaign contributions.”

For those who might be hoping that the Madigan indictment is a sign that politics in Illinois is changing, sorry to disappoint you, but there are many more “mini-Madigans” out there who are playing the exact same games.

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