Politically Speaking – July 28, 2020

July 28, 2020

I can’t say how many times I’ve pointed out in this very column the alleged corruption of lawmakers in Springfield — especially longtime Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan — and that if you keep voting the same way you’ll keep getting the same results. Now it looks like the corruption issue has finally caught up with Michael Madigan, whom I have always used as a case for term limits. According to a number of news sources, federal agents have announced a record-breaking $200 million prosecution agreement with Commonwealth Edison for bribing “public officials.” And not long after, the Feds paid a surprise visit to Madigan’s Springfield office, serving a grand jury subpoena for a number of documents. Madigan, I might add, is also chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, and of course last week after the fact, Madigan declared he was innocent.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time those of us that are still in Illinois have seen the corrupt behavior of high ranking elected officials on both sides of the aisle breaking the law. A prime example is our illustrious governor. Remember he had the toilets temporarily taken out of his Gold Coast mansion to avoid taxes, better known as property tax fraud. Pritzker, when caught, offered to pay the amount owed. According to the Chicago Sun Times, a federal investigation is ongoing in this and other matters. The irony is Pritzker sees nothing wrong with breaking the backs of the good citizens of Illinois with another tax increase.

In my opinion, Madigan and Pritzker have violated the trust of our citizens and I’m sure many Democrats feel the same way. However, Madigan has always gone out of his way to destroy and assure the unelectibility of those that dare to go against him. Will they now stand up?
Several Republican area legislators issued the following press releases.

State Representative Charlie Meier (108th District):
108th District State Representative Charlie Meier (R-Okawville) did not mince words on Monday as the Republican issued his reaction to events surrounding House Speaker Michael Madigan, ComEd and Exelon Companies, and an ongoing Federal investigation into bribery, sweetheart contracts, special appointments, and ghost payroll jobs continues to reveal its many layers.

“Public corruption has long been an accepted way of life for Chicago Democrats like Mike, Madigan” Rep. Meier said. “We’ve seen members of the General Assembly arrested on charges involving bribery and tax evasion, and we’ve now come to learn that Mike Madigan is ‘Public Official A’ in prosecution documents revealed by the Federal Justice Department and the US Attorney’s office.”

Indeed, Federal prosecutors have released information on a deferred prosecution agreement that requires ComEd to pay a $200 million fine for participating in a scheme to hire ex Madigan staffers as interns, lobbyists, and no-show employees to curry favor with the longest serving House speaker in the United States.

“The level of corruption outlined by the Feds on Friday is just the beginning of our understanding of how Mike Madigan’s operation really works,” Meier said. “Unfortunately, as the days and weeks unfold, we’ll learn that the corruption problem in Illinois has tentacles that reach deep into the corporate and political institutions in our state. It’s time for Mike Madigan to resign, effective immediately.”

Meier went on to demand more accountability from House Democrats and says Madigan should lose his pension, law license, and access to his massive campaign war chest so it can’t be used for his legal defense.

“If what is being alleged is true, Speaker Madigan should not receive his huge legislative pension, and he should be forced to fund his own legal defense, rather than relying on what may be tainted contributions that he has taken for performing official actions. No other free citizen is allowed to use a campaign fund to pay for their legal defense, and I believe the Federal government should immediately freeze Madigan’s campaign funds so he cannot access them to wriggle himself off the hook one more time.”
Meier also says Governor JB Pritzker should immediately call lawmakers back into session to address ethics reforms.

“We’ve got a constant ‘drip, drip, drip’ of corruption related news coming out of Springfield and Chicago,” Meier said. “One way we can turn off the corruption faucet, so to speak, is to get lawmakers back to Springfield to pass a sweeping ethics reform package. My House Republican colleagues and I have introduced more than 30 bills aimed at ending public corruption. The Governor has the power to call lawmakers back to Springfield. What better time to show the people of Illinois that you are serious about cleaning up government and ending the self-dealing once and for all?”

Illinois Republican Delegation:
“Congressmen John Shimkus (IL-15), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Darin LaHood (IL-18), Adam Kinzinger (IL-16), and Mike Bost (IL-12) released the following statement regarding the ongoing federal criminal investigations of Speaker Michael Madigan and Governor J.B. Pritzker:

“Illinoisans are sadly no strangers to corruption in our state’s politics, but simultaneous federal criminal investigations into both the Speaker of the House and the Governor are truly unprecedented. Today’s developments in the ongoing bribery investigation against Speaker Madigan and the property tax fraud investigation against Governor Pritzker are disturbing. We fully support U.S. Attorney John Lausch and other federal officials in their important work to bring those who violate the public’s trust to justice. The people of Illinois deserve better than Illinois Democrats’ embarrassing, systemic corruption.” It’s time for Madigan to resign or retire.

My closing statement: Keep voting the same way, keep getting the same results.

Until next week

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