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updated: 10/3/2012 4:51 PM

Email says ComEd wrote newspaper column for legislator

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Associated Press

ROCKFORD -- An email shows that the utility giant ComEd wrote a column for a member of the Illinois House utilities committee to submit to a local newspaper under his own name, the Rockford Register-Star reported Wednesday.

Rep. Charles Jefferson submitted a 420-word guest column to the Register-Star. In it, the Rockford Democrat urged state regulators to reverse a $168 million cut in customers' energy delivery rates. The column said the loss of money would impede ComEd's efforts to modernize its power grid, creating 2,000 jobs around the state.

The email containing the column included an exchange at the bottom indicating that someone at ComEd did the writing.

"Attached for Rep. Jefferson's review is draft content for an opinion/editorial piece to submit to the Rockford Register Star today," said the Sept. 27 email from Martha Swaney, senior communications specialist for ComEd. "Providing that Rep. Jefferson agrees with the content, please submit directly to the Register Star at your earliest possible convenience."

Jefferson sits on the House Public Utilities Committee. ComEd and its parent company have given him at least $27,550 in campaign donations over the past decade.

In a statement Wednesday, ComEd said Jefferson expressed interest in writing a letter to the newspaper and that the company was "pleased to support his effort and ensure accuracy of the statement."

Jefferson did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

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