CHICAGO — 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, prosecutors announced Friday.
The U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago said in a news release that 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.
In exchange for agreeing to pay the fine, prosecutors suspended their criminal case against the company alleging 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.
The announcement comes about seven months after Madigan was charged with a nearly $3 million racketeering bribery scheme. According to that indictment, Madigan used his speaker role and various other positions of power to further his alleged criminal enterprise. That indictment and Friday's announcement marked a dramatic fall for one of the nation's most powerful state legislators and the longest-serving state House speaker in modern U.S. history. Madigan resigned from the Legislature a year ago.
According to prosecutors, AT&T admits that in 2017, it arranged for a Madigan ally to receive $22,500 in 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.
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