The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday charged Exelon, ComEd and ex-ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore with fraud for the bribery scandal involving former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan that led to Pramaggiore’s criminal conviction this year.
Exelon agreed to pay $46.2 million to settle the charges against it and ComEd. However, the SEC said the charges against Pramaggiore will be sorted out in court. The SEC is seeking a civil penalty and other consequences for the onetime utility executive.
Pramaggiore was convicted in May along with three others for a nearly decadelong conspiracy to bribe Madigan. Central to the case was the claim that the four funneled $1.3 million to five Madigan allies over eight years in a bid to sway Madigan as legislation crucial to ComEd moved through Springfield.
That legislation took ComEd from a “dire” financial situation in the 2000s to record earnings in 2022.
Also convicted in that trial were longtime Madigan confidant Michael McClain, ex-ComEd lobbyist John Hooker and onetime City Club President Jay Doherty. Madigan faces charges for his role in the scheme in a separate indictment, and he is set to go to trial in April.
Pramaggiore has maintained her innocence, and her lawyers have made clear they intend to appeal her conviction. That appeal will likely come shortly after Pramaggiore’s sentencing hearing, which is set for Jan. 16.
Scott Lassar, Pramaggiore’s criminal defense attorney, declined to comment Friday.
The SEC’s 21-page complaint against Pramaggiore largely levels the same allegations against Pramaggiore as the indictment that led to her criminal conviction. However, it also alleges that Pramaggiore misled investors about the Future Energy Jobs Act — one of the bills at issue in her trial — as well as Exelon’s auditors.
Discussing FEJA during an October 2016 Exelon earnings call, Pramaggiore allegedly said, “We have pulled together a coalition to come in with an agreed bill as much as possible and we are in the process of putting that together now.”
Instead, the SEC alleged that “Pramaggiore’s and ComEd’s plan for passing FEJA was to corruptly influence and reward Madigan.”
Under Pramaggiore’s watch, ComEd and Exelon “showered Madigan confederates with over a million dollars in payments,” the SEC alleged. “The goal was to ingratiate the Exelon organization to Madigan so he would do its political bidding in Springfield. The payments were supposedly for services rendered.
“But Pramaggiore knew those payments bought ComEd and Exelon one thing and one thing alone,” the SEC alleged. “Clout.”