(The Center Square) – Federal prosecutors have charged the former president of a telecommunications company with unlawfully influencing the former Illinois House Speaker.
Paul La Schiazza conspired with former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and others in 2017 to corruptly arrange for $22,500 to be paid to a Madigan ally, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois in a five count indictment unsealed Friday.
“AT&T Illinois caused the payments to be made through an intermediary – a lobbying firm that performed services for AT&T Illinois – to conceal the true nature of the payments, which was to influence and reward Madigan’s efforts as Speaker to assist the company with respect to certain legislation,” the indictment alleges. “Although the members of the conspiracy formulated a pretextual assignment for Madigan’s ally to disguise why the ally was being paid, the ally performed no actual work for AT&T Illinois and had no role in advancing the legislation, the indictment states.”
Madigan already faces 22 federal corruption counts in a case prosecutors say was a nearly decade long criminal enterprise between utility ComEd and Madigan and associates using official positions for personal gain. That case includes allegations Madigan allies received do-nothing positions in exchange for legislation favorable to the utility. Madigan has pleaded not guilty, as have several former officials from ComEd.
In Friday’s announcement about the former AT&T Illinois president, prosecutors say La Schiazza, 65, is charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of corruptly giving something of value to reward a public official, and three counts of using a facility in interstate commerce to promote unlawful activity.