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*** UPDATED x1 *** Madigan watch

Friday, Feb 25, 2011

* From Bernie Schoenburg’s column

Checking the comment section under stories about the mayor’s race at, I have noticed that some people seem to think Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, is on [Mike Coffey’s] side in the Springfield mayor’s race.

Madigan often eats at Saputo’s, the Coffey family restaurant. Although Coffey is a Republican, he made a point during the campaign of noting that Mike Thompson, a lobbyist and former Madigan staffer, was part of his campaign team. But there’s no indication that Madigan himself is on board.

“I have no idea if Mike Madigan’s for me,” Coffey said. “He eats in the restaurant, like many customers. Some are probably for me. Some are probably against me. I have no idea, and I don’t ask people. … All’s I care about is that they come into Saputo’s.”

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown, who happened to be in Saputo’s when I asked him about this, said Madigan wasn’t involved in either the Chicago or Springfield mayoral campaigns.

Working for Madigan usually means you always work for Madigan. But the top brass has gone far out of their way to insist that Thomson was on his own on this one. And Madigan seems to be eating elsewhere more often, lately.

* Speaking of Madigan guys

The Regional Transportation Authority has come up with an interesting solution of sorts to its continuing Springfield woes. It’s hired the son-in-law of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan for a $130,000-a-year job.

The RTA a little while ago announced that Jordan Matyas will begin work next week as its deputy executive director, overseeing the agency’s government affairs department. […]

The RTA’s spokeswoman says there is “no relationship” between the hiring and the fact that RTA Chairman John Gates has had a rocky relationship with Mr. Madigan, with continual talk that the speaker might even run a bill to abolish the agency.

“We wouldn’t call it a peace offering,” the spokeswoman said. “We’d call is the hiring of a person for a posted vacancy who we have determined is very highly qualified.”

Jordan used to lobby for the Humane Society, so he’s a do-gooder from way back. He started working for former state Rep. Judy Erwin when he was 15.

Matyas and I talked a few times about the “appearance” problems he was going to have after he married Madigan’s daughter. There’s just no avoiding it. Like his sister-in-law the attorney general, he’s just going to have to expect these questions about whether he accomplished something on his own or not. And he’ll never really know if he’s being offered stuff because of his experience (and he has plenty) or his super-powerful father-in-law.

I don’t think we’ve ever had this situation at the Statehouse before, so we’re in uncharted waters here. It would be easy to tell him to get outta the business, but that’s where his career is. So, it’s a tough one.

And, before you go weird in comments, Jordan and Tiffany are the real deal. Also, take if from me, you can’t help who you fall in love with. That’s just life. Sometimes, it causes problems, but it’s usually worth it.

* Meanwhile

Freshman State Representative Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) on Wednesday introduced a Constitutional amendment that would impose term limits on the Illinois General Assembly’s legislative leaders, a measure that force fellow Democrat House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) out of his post.

“The legislature is too tightly controlled by four individuals who are not accountable to most citizens,” Biss said. “This bill aims to make the legislative process more responsive by ensuring that we hear fresh ideas from new leaders, which is vitally important to how the legislative process takes shape.” […[

With a January 2014 effective date, House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 20 would prohibit a member from serving in a leadership position for longer than ten years.

In addition to ending Madigan’s tenure as Speaker, who has held the job since 1983, with two-year hiatus between 1995-1997, Biss’ measure would also end the reign of House GOP Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego). Cross won his leadership job in 2002.

Circular file fodder, but that’ll play well in his district.

*** UPDATE *** Interesting

Powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has joined as a sponsor of a House bi-partisan resolution calling for an audit of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation program “as it applies to state employees.”

The resolution, H.R. 131, filed Thursday, is co-sponsored by state Rep. Tom Holbrook, D-Belleville, and Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon. According to the official synopsis of the resolution, it seeks an audit that would include “the number of claims filed by state workers during the last four years, a review of the settlement contract process, an analysis of any fraud identification and control policies and procedures, an analysis of arbitrator caseloads over the four-year period, and a review of conflict of interest policies applicable to arbitrators and commissioners.” […]

“I’m pleased to work with Speaker Madigan in sponsoring legislation to audit the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission,” Kay said. “The legislature is now serious about auditing the (commission), and obtaining the support from Speaker Madigan is a big step in the right direction.

“Bipartisan support is necessary to move this legislation forward, and I’m optimistic an audit will be conducted quickly and thoroughly,” Kay said.

Kay is not one of the Speaker’s favorite people because he took a House seat away from the Democrats last year. Even if it was Jay Hoffman’s House seat.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - amalia - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:08 pm:

    Well, at least the AG’s office did not give him a job.

  2. - actually, I know - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:11 pm:

    to be honest, before matyas married into the madigan he was doing a bang up job as government realtions director for the humane society. If he can aboish puppy mills he’ll be able to clean up the mess at RTA.

  3. - southside Sammy - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:12 pm:

    well whoever this new RTA guy is (or who sent him) at least he’s better than the bums they have over there right now. get organized

  4. - Conservative Veteran - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:17 pm:

    I live in State Rep. Biss’ district. I don’t like his bill because it doesn’t go far enough. There should be term limits of 10 years, on all elected officials, and six years, for each state legislative leadership position.

  5. - dumb ol' country boy - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:17 pm:

    Go Rep. Biss way over due…take out the trash!

  6. - Bigtwich - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:24 pm:

    Actually the ten years would probably have to be served after the law went into effect.

  7. - MC - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:25 pm:

    Give Jordan a break, he has worked in Springfield forever, has a better understanding of the legislature (and budget) then most of the guys down there. He would have made a ton of money had he stayed in lobbying (on merit) but left and took a huge salary cut, because of the media pressure I presume. Now he’s getting ripped apart for taking a lower paying job tha he is over-qualified for? I know many of the people may post on here how 130k is a lot of money, but for a lawyer with his kind of background it isn’t. Is he supposed to drop his career and start over?

  8. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:31 pm:


    and …. scene!

  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:34 pm:


  10. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:36 pm:


  11. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:43 pm:

    Dude, it’s Biss, not bliss. No “L” in it.

  12. - Monkey Knife Fight - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:45 pm:

    Poor Mike Thomson doesn’t even get his name spelled right when he gets into the paper so now he can’t even put this doozy in his scrapbook.

    Jordan Matyas is in a tough spot. Any success he has will always be attributed to his father-in-law “RTA hires Speaker Madigan’s son-in-law for lobbying job” style. When he does well it’s because of you-know-who and if he doesn’t it’s “can’t believe Madigan’s son-in-law couldn’t get it done.” Jordan’s resume speaks for itself. It’s not like he started in government after he married Tiffany.

  13. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:49 pm:

    MKF, I thought it was “Thomson,” but it wasn’t spelled that way in the story, so I just let it go. Thanks for pointing it out. I’ll change my stuff.

  14. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:51 pm:

    Meh, love makes strange bedfellows, if you’re lucky.

    The goofiest that I can recall was when Gary was Madigan’s COS and Chris was Daniels.

    That should have been a TV show. It put Carville and Matalin to shame.

  15. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:52 pm:

    ===That should have been a TV show. It put Carville and Matalin to shame. ===

    Yeah. You know it.

  16. - Texan for Matyas - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:55 pm:

    I worked with Jordan at the White House during the Clinton administration. Since then, he’s worked hard for the people of Illinois in a variety of roles. He’s good at what he does. I think, if anything, he brings a work ethic, sensibility and good heart to the public sphere. We should all try to keep people like this in service - not scare or push them away.

  17. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:56 pm:

    My Bad, Rich … my Dysexia is flaring up something awful ….

  18. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 3:59 pm:

    … its so bad, FORGOT the “l” in Dyslexia … so it’s a wash.

  19. - Lakefront Liberal - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 4:37 pm:

    Way to go Daniel! And yes, it will play well in his district and beyond.

  20. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 25, 11 @ 4:40 pm:

    Since the GOP in the GA apparently can’t find its wallet with both hands, it’s good to know that Southwest Irish conservatives like Madigan are exercising some oversight.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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