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Madigan chief of staff guilty in perjury trial, faces decades in prison

(The Center Square) – A federal jury found Michael Madigan’s former chief of staff guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice charges on Thursday, convicting him of lying to a grand jury to protect his former boss. 

Tim Mapes, 68, served for years under former Democratic Illinois House Speaker Madigan as the clerk of the Illinois House and as Madigan’s chief of staff.

In May 2021, federal prosecutors charged Mapes with lying to a grand jury in a federal probe connected to the longtime former speaker.

According to the indictment, Mapes acted as a courier exchanging messages between Madigan and former state Rep. Michael McClain, who worked as a lobbyist for Commonwealth Edison after retiring from the House.

The indictment alleged that Mapes lied to the grand jury when asked about Madigan’s relationship with McClain.

“Perjury and obstruction of justice are serious offenses that strike at the heart of the truth-seeking mission of the grand jury,” Acting U.S. Attorney Morris Pasqual said in a statement. “This conviction should stand as a clear message to witnesses who choose to violate their oath to tell the truth before a grand jury that they will be held accountable.”

Mapes was fired from his position under Madigan in 2018 after public allegations of harassment against colleagues. An inspector general in 2019 said Mapes should never be allowed to work for state government again.

Mapes faces 20 years in prison on the obstruction conviction and five years on the perjury charge.

The guilty verdict in the Mapes case follows on the heels of convictions in the ComEd bribery case, which also was tied to Madigan. 

In May, a jury convicted former state lawmaker and lobbyist McClain, former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, former ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and former contract lobbyist Jay Doherty of a multi-year scheme to bribe Madigan with no-show jobs, contracts and payments to associates in exchange for support with legislation that would benefit the utility’s finances.

After the Mapes verdict, Republicans in the legislature criticized Democratic leaders for not prioritizing ethics reform at the capitol.

At a late Thursday afternoon news conference, Deputy Illinois House Republican Leader Ryan Spain and Assistant Leader Patrick Windhorst wondered how many corruption convictions would it to take for Democrats to get serious about reform at the state capitol.

“Another day, another conviction in federal court,” Spain said, adding that “cleaning up the crisis of corruption that continues to plague the state of Illinois” needs to be a top priority.

Spain and Windhorst called for Gov. J.B. Pritzker to call a special session so lawmakers can work on comprehensive ethics reform.

“How many indictments is too many .. how many guilty verdicts is it going to take to have Democrats join Republicans” in ending the culture of corruption in Springfield, Windhorst said.

In a statement, House Republican Leader Tony McCombie echoed his colleagues comments.

“We have had too many glaring reminders that we must eliminate bad actors, self-serving politicians, and corruption from our statehouse, and this is just another verdict to prove it,” McCombie said in a statement. “It would be appalling if Speaker [Emanuel Chris] Welch did not move forward legislation House Republicans have filed to address ethics and instill public trust in our government.”

McCombie continued: “While I strongly believe reform should start in the House, if Speaker Welch continues to stall on reforming the corrupt practices of this state, I hope President [Don] Harmon and the Senate will take the lead.”