AT&T Illinois to pay $23M to settle federal probe


CHICAGO (AP) — AT&T Illinois has agreed to pay a $23 million fine to resolve a federal probe into its alleged 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 the company was seeking.

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.

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.

“AT&T Illinois acknowledged in the agreement that AT&T Illinois’s then-president used an interstate facility to facilitate Madigan’s indirect receipt of a thing of value, namely the payments made to his ally, in exchange for Madigan’s vote and influence over a bill,” the U.S. Attorney’s office said in the release.

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