A federal grand jury in Chicago indicted former Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, Michael J. Madigan, on Wednesday on racketeering and bribery charges.

“The indictment alleges a long-term, multifaceted scheme to use public positions for unlawful private gain,” said John R. Lausch, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, who announced the indictment.

Arraignments have yet to be scheduled in the U.S. District Court in Chicago.

Madigan, 79, stands accused of using his position to “corruptly solicit and receive personal financial rewards for himself and his associates.” The indictment lists 22 counts against Madigan for a criminal enterprise that lasted for a decade “whose purpose was to enhance Madigan’s political power and financial well-being.”

Madigan has been charged with “racketeering conspiracy” and faces individual charges of “using interstate facilities in aid of bribery, wire fraud, and attempted extortion.” According to the indictment, Madigan is accused of engaging in multiple criminal schemes “to reap the benefits of private legal work.” This legal work was “unlawfully steered to his law firm.”

The indictment lists another name — Michael F. McClain — who is alleged to have “carried out illegal activities at Madigan’s behest.”

McClain, 74, and Madigan “unlawfully solicited benefits from businesses and other private parties.” McClain will face charges of “racketeering conspiracy” and as an individual will face charges of “using interstate facilities in aid of bribery and wire fraud.”

Lausch said that “corruption by an elected official and his associates undermines the public’s confidence in our government.”

Madigan was among the most powerful politicians in Chicago, having served in the Illinois House from 1971 to 2021 and as chair of the Illinois Democratic Party. He was called "the Velvet Hammer" for his quiet and powerful leadership.