A key player in the political bribery case involving ComEd will not participate in legislative hearings exploring House Speaker Michael Madigan’s role in the scandal, a committee chairman announced Wednesday.
Former ComEd executive Fidel Marquez could have offered potentially interesting testimony to a special House committee. In late September, Marquez pleaded guilty to a federal corruption charge and gave prosecutors their first conviction in an ongoing criminal investigation that led this summer to a bribery charge against ComEd.
Marquez agreed to cooperate with prosecutors — a move that could help him avoid prison. But special legislative committee chairman Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch announced Wednesday that “Fidel Marquez has declined to participate in this committee’s work.”
Marquez’s criminal defense attorney did not immediately return a call from the Chicago Sun-Times seeking comment.
The committee earlier questioned an executive from Exelon, ComEd’s parent company, in a hearing that revealed new details about the investigation. Now Welch said the committee is waiting for ComEd to gather requested documents, and he postponed a meeting of the committee that had been set for Thursday.
The bribery charge against ComEd landed in July in a case that implicated Madigan — as well as Marquez — in a scheme that allegedly sent $1.3 million to Madigan’s associates while ComEd was trying to land Madigan’s support for key legislation.
Though ComEd has pleaded not guilty in court, it admitted to the conduct in a so-called deferred-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors. It agreed to pay a $200 million fine but could ultimately see the bribery charge dismissed.
Meanwhile, no other individual has been criminally charged as part of the case. That includes Madigan, who has denied wrongdoing and is identified in documents only as “Public Official A.” The speaker has denied personal knowledge of the scheme and said he never expected someone to be hired for a job in exchange for an action he took.
“Helping people find jobs is not a crime,” Madigan wrote in a letter to House colleagues.
The feds have alleged that ComEd funneled money through other companies to pay Madigan’s associates. In his plea agreement, Marquez admitted that while working for ComEd he helped move a Madigan associate from one company to another, and that he paid $37,500 to one company, “a substantial portion of which” was meant for Madigan’s associates.