Top aide to former Speaker Michael Madigan indicted

Illinois Capitol News

FILE – In this May 10, 2011, file photo, Timothy Mapes, right, former chief of staff for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, listens to lawmakers debate at the Capitol in Springfield, Ill. Mapes, who was forced to resign amid sexual harassment allegations is owed $130,000 in unused vacation and sick time. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show Mapes was credited with 237 unused days when he was forced to resign June 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — The federal corruption probe that dethroned Michael Madigan after nearly 50 years in power takes a step closer to the man himself with the indictment of Madigan’s former longtime chief-of-staff. 

Tim Mapes was Speaker Madigan’s gate-keeper, controlling the operation of the House chamber and fielding requests for everything from legislation to lawmakers’ schedules.  He’s now been indicted for allegedly lying under oath to a federal grand jury.  Mapes is charged with one count of attempted obstruction of justice and one count of making false declarations before a grand jury.

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office says the federal grandy jury is “investigating possible violations of federal criminal law, including efforts by the Illinois Speaker of the House and an individual acting on the Speaker’s behalf, to obtain for others private jobs, contracts, and monetary payments, including from Commonwealth … to influence and reward the Speaker in the Speaker’s official capacity.”

Prosecutors also revealed Mapes was granted immunity to testify before the grandy jury; but because he’s now accused of lying that immunity deal is in jeopardy.

Prosecutors are conducting a hard-charging investigation into allegations that Com Ed hired cronies and confidants of Madigan – who sometimes performed little or no work – in order to curry favor with Madigan and gain his support for legislation that benefited the utility.  Madigan has denied wrongdoing. 

Mapes’ indictment represents the final political firewall between Madigan and federal prosecutors.  Former Com Ed lobbyist Michael McClain, who is another longtime Madigan aide and friend, has been charged with others accused of falsifying company records and creating off-book accounts to conceal or disguise payments made in the corruption scheme.  Com Ed has admitted to wrongdoing while the utility’s former CEO is facing charges.

Mapes is one of several Madigan loyalists who benefits from taxpayer-funded positions while also controlling a field army of soldiers deployed for political purposes.  While his boss served as chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, Mapes was the executive director.

Mapes was forced to resign in 2018 after another state employee who worked in Madigan’s office accused Mapes of making sexually-charged comments and creating a culture of sexism, harassment and bullying that extended for several years.   A report from the state’s executive inspector general examined the culture in Madigan’s office. 

At the time, Gov. JB Pritzker said the report detailed “a special kind of harassment and intimidation from Tim Mapes”

The indictment comes during deadline week at the state Capitol where lawmakers have yet to reach an agreement on tougher ethics legislation. Governor J.B. Pritzker and new House Speaker Chris Welch have both pledged to improve transparency around lobbying and financial disclosure laws in response to the federal corruption case.

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