Ex-Madigan Alderman Moves From City Council to ComEd

Frank Olivo

Frank Olivo, the former 13th Ward Chicago alderman, is a registered lobbyist for Commonwealth Edison, city records show.

Eight months after leaving office in 2011, Olivo signed on to lobby the mayor’s office and his former city council colleagues for the public utility, which has come under intense scrutiny in recent months following a series of federal raids in Chicago and Springfield.

Olivo served as alderman of the 13th Ward, controlled by House Speaker Mike Madigan, from 1994 until he retired in 2011. The Chicago Board of Ethics website shows in 2012, Olivo was paid $24,000 for the first six months of that year by the company.

Olivo remains a lobbyist for ComEd, according to the latest records on file. For almost all of his time representing the utility giant, Olivo has been paid $4,000 a month. The payments, which are listed quarterly, show Olivo received $12,000 for the first quarter of 2019, but only $4,000 in the second quarter. For the time period of July through September he received no compensation.

A person answering the phone number listed on city records for Olivo hung up on a reporter Monday morning without any reply.

As part of the federal investigation into ComEd, FBI raids and search warrants have been executed over the past six months, including:

-The downstate home of Michael McClain, a former state representative and close associate of Madigan who became a ComEd lobbyist after he left the legislature. McClain officially retired as a lobbyist in 2016. The Chicago Tribune, quoting two sources with knowledge of the investigation, reported federal agents have also recorded conversations from McClain’s phone.

-The Springfield and Chicago offices as well as the home of state senator Martin Sandoval. His district includes parts of the 13th Ward. The search warrants ask for “Items related to ComEd, Exelon, any employee, officer or representative of any of those businesses, Exelon Official A, Exelon Official B, Exelon Official C, Exelon Official D, and/or any issue supported by any of those business or individuals, including but not limited to rate increases.” Sandoval has announced he will resign his seat on Jan. 1 citing the on-going federal investigation. Exelon is the parent company of Commonwealth Edison.

-The City Club of Chicago, which describes itself as a “Civic and Public Affairs Forum.” Its president, until he retired earlier this month, was Jay Doherty, who was also a lobbyist for ComEd. State records show Doherty lobbied on behalf of the company from 2010 until November of this year.

Phone calls to Doherty and Sandoval have not been returned. A phone call to McClain’s attorney was not returned. An attorney for the City Club had no comment regarding the federal investigation other than to say the Club is moving forward.

When asked what former alderman Frank OIivo did for ComEd as a lobbyist, Paul Elsberg, the company’s director of communications said, “The extent of what we can say is that we are cooperating fully and can’t comment on the matter at this time.” There is no official indication that Olivo is a target of the ongoing investigation.

In October, Anne Pramaggiore retired from her position as CEO of Exelon Utilities. At the time she gave no public reason for her sudden retirement, which to date remains unclear. Her attorney, Scott Lassar, a former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, declined comment.

Speaker Madigan served as chairman of Olivo’s political campaign when he ran for alderman. As a member of the City Council, Olivo served quietly, out of the public spotlight. A spokesman for Madigan said they do not keep information about City Hall lobbyists.

The Chicago Tribune, citing four individuals they interviewed, reported earlier this month that federal authorities have asked questions about Madigan, his political operation and connections with ComEd lobbyists. Madigan earlier this year stated he is not a target of the federal investigation.

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