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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Former Commonwealth Edison Executives and Consultants Charged With Conspiring to Corruptly Influence and Reward State of Illinois Official

CHICAGO — Former Commonwealth Edison executives, including the former Chief Executive Officer, conspired with outside consultants to corruptly influence and reward a high-level elected official for the State of Illinois to assist with the passage of legislation favorable to the electric utility company, according to an indictment returned today in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

The indictment charges four individuals with bribery conspiracy, bribery, and willfully falsifying ComEd books and records:

  • MICHAEL McCLAIN, 73, of Quincy, Ill.  McClain worked as a lobbyist and/or consultant for ComEd after serving in the Illinois House of Representatives in the 1970s and early 1980s.
  • ANNE PRAMAGGIORE, 62, of Barrington, Ill.  Pramaggiore was CEO of ComEd from 2012 to 2018, and later served as a senior executive at an affiliate of Exelon Corp., of which ComEd was a subsidiary.
  • JOHN HOOKER, 71, of Chicago, Ill.  Hooker served as ComEd’s executive vice president of legislative and external affairs from 2009 to 2012, after which he worked as an external lobbyist for ComEd.
  • JAY DOHERTY, 67, of Chicago, Ill.  Doherty owned Jay D. Doherty & Associates, which performed consulting services for ComEd from approximately 2011 to 2019.

Arraignments in federal court in Chicago have not yet been scheduled.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; and Tamera Cantu, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amarjeet S. Bhachu, Diane MacArthur, Timothy J. Chapman, Sarah E. Streicker, Matthew L. Kutcher, and Michelle Kramer.

According to the charges, the defendants’ efforts to influence and reward the high-level elected official – identified in the indictment as “Public Official A” – began in or around 2011 and continued through in or around 2019.  During that time, Public Official A controlled what measures were called for a vote in the Illinois House of Representatives and exerted substantial influence over fellow lawmakers concerning legislation affecting ComEd, the indictment states.  The charges allege that the defendants conspired to corruptly influence and reward Public Official A by arranging for jobs and contracts for Public Official A’s political allies and workers, even in instances where those people performed little or no work that ComEd purportedly hired them to perform.  The defendants allegedly created and caused the creation of false contracts, invoices, and other books and records to disguise the true nature of some of the payments and to circumvent internal controls at ComEd.

In addition to the jobs and contracts, the indictment alleges that the defendants undertook other efforts to influence and reward Public Official A, including causing ComEd to retain a particular outside law firm favored by Public Official A and to accept into ComEd’s internship program a certain amount of students who resided in the Chicago ward associated with Public Official A.  Pramaggiore and McClain also allegedly took steps to have an individual appointed to ComEd’s Board of Directors at the request of Public Official A and McClain, the indictment states.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  If convicted, the Court must impose reasonable sentences under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Updated November 18, 2020