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*** UPDATED x1 *** Madigan still mum on Rep. Smith arrest

Friday, Mar 16, 2012

* House Speaker Michael Madigan has yet to comment on Tuesday’s federal bribery arrest of one of his own caucus members

“It’s all under review,” spokesman Steve Brown said. He declined to elaborate when asked what that meant and said he didn’t know whether Madigan would reach any conclusions before voters go to the polls.

Brown’s been giving me the same line for days.

* More

Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady criticized Madigan again Thursday for his silence, saying Smith should resign. Brady is particularly piqued by a mail piece Madigan produced for his own re-election race boasting of his efforts to “clean up the mess” when former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and other politicians broke the law.

“I guess this time it isn’t politically convenient, so Madigan is sitting this one out — further eroding the public trust and reputation of the state of Illinois,” Brady said in a statement.

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn said little more than Madigan about the situation during an appearance in Chicago Wednesday.

“We shouldn’t judge anyone until the jury does and the judge renders a sentence, if that’s the case,” Quinn said.

* Former Republican Party official Tom Swiss is running against the arrested Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) in the Democratic primary. Swiss is complaining about a yard sign that I showed subscribers on Monday…

* NBC5

Thursday Swiss said Madigan and Smith are sending direct mail to voters in the area intended to smear him. The mailers appear to be a reaction to a billboard purchased by Swiss, who is white, that features an African American. There was some confusion as to whether Swiss was trying to pass himself off as an African American with the billboard. Swiss says no.

“I call upon Speaker Madigan to halt the disgusting smear campaign that is being planned for the final weekend,” Swiss said. “The Speaker should be joining me in calling upon Smith to withdraw, not trying to save Smith from the consequences of his own greedy conduct.”

* Check out this Tom Swiss mailer, “Hey Gorgeous”


I think that’s what Tom Swiss might call trying to take advantage of an “extremely low information” voter base. The Rep. Smith yard sign could be seen as countering such an attempt.

* Swiss is doing some interesting stuff with the Comed bill issue, however. Click for a bigger pic…


*** UPDATE *** I didn’t notice this Tribune editorial until a reader sent it to me

You know it’s almost Election Day when the lawn signs start vanishing.

They’re there at night but — whoop — missing in the morning. Usually, nobody’s caught in the act.

But look what happened on the Southwest Side on Tuesday: Chivalrous citizens confronted a man they say was lifting campaign lawn signs. They chased him down an alley, called police and made sure a squad car provided a grand exit from the neighborhood.

Carole Suhanek, a local resident, told us she was walking her dog on 64th Place between Meade and Austin avenues when she noticed a man going yard to yard and plucking out the bright red campaign signs of Illinois House candidate Michele Piszczor. The man claimed he had permission to take the signs, but she didn’t believe him.

She flagged down a neighbor, who chased the man through an alley and called police. Suhanek said officers found at least two of Piszczor’s yard signs in his car. We checked — the car is registered to a campaign worker for House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Yes, Piszczor, 25, is running against Madigan in the Democratic primary.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - AlphaBettor - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 11:41 am:

    Of course Madigan wants Smith to win, so the regular Democrats can appoint a replacement candidate for November, and keep control of the seat.

  2. - SportShoz - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 11:45 am:

    I’m really surprised they haven’t been more mail pieces in these “heated” primaries on the “ComEd” bill, especially after they gave so much money in campaign contributions.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 11:47 am:

    Madigan is trying to “run out the clock”, while the media and ILGOP is trying to slow the clock down with “education”, while … Madigan and Co. are also trying to “educate the voters” on the GOP candidate in the race, WHILE not touting the Dem candidate outright …


    I am tired trying to keep up on all the twists … of Swiss …

    This is going to be the number one race I am going to watch from the sidelines.

    Madigan and Jesse … versus … Swiss …and the ground games that are going to win this thing in the end. And let us not forget … Federal indictment included.


  4. - MickJ - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 11:48 am:

    “interesting” is all a can say about the ComEd criticism. All true, of course, but hard to believe Swiss would have been a no vote.

  5. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 11:50 am:

    Quite a choice the voters have there, between the Indicted Man and the Invisible Man (apologies to Ralph Ellison).

  6. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 11:50 am:

    I’m surprised we haven’t seen the “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” mailer yet.

    It’s times like these that a professional campaign manager just locks his candidate in a room with no telephone and runs his race.

    Swiss appears to be his own campaign manager, and that is a recipe for disaster.

  7. - NIref - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 11:52 am:

    The “hey gorgeous” mailer is disgusting. It’s one thing to capitalize on low-information voting through partisan heuristics, it’s another to act like Don Draper and Roger Sterling.

  8. - Hacksaw Duggin - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 11:57 am:

    The Trib had a nice short article about someone on Madigan’s campaign staff was caught stealing signs and was cornered by a few residents. The cops came by but I guess no charges were filed.

  9. - Wensicia - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 11:57 am:

    Is anyone, besides me, offended by an ad that starts out “Hey, gorgeous”?

    Perhaps Madigan is too busy supervising the uprooting of his opponent’s campaign signs to find time to comment on Smith.

  10. - just sayin' - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 11:57 am:

    Well really what is Madigan supposed to do?

    Smith has so far only been accused of being a fraud. But we KNOW Tom Swiss is a fraud. He was a Republican Party official (GOP ward committeeman) until just a few months ago). His entire campaign is a fraud on the voters. He’s not a Democrat as he claims.

    I’m sure Madigan will get Smith replaced on the ballot after the primary. Given the timing of the arrest and ballots already being printed, really nothing else to do.

    This is another screw up by the IL GOP. If Swiss and Pat Brady had gone the honest route and run someone as a Republican to show the flag, they could keep this going thru November. But instead they destroy their credibility from the get-go, and wind up looking sleazier than the Dems.

    Is there no one in GOP politics in this state who knows how to do politics?

  11. - too obvious - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 12:06 pm:

    This also isn’t the first time Tom Swiss has disrespected the black community.

    Rich, remember a couple of years ago when you had a blog post about the Chicago GOP website (Tom Swiss’ thingy) assigning names of Democratic politicians (mostly black ones) to random photos of homeless people. Real classy.

    Bottom line there is something seriously wrong with Tom Swiss.

  12. - Really? - - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 12:06 pm:

    Do you really believe that Madigan is concerned over a possible – very likely – Swiss victory? Madigan knows very well that once the new session starts Swiss will not only vote for Madigan for speaker, but also will need his staff, money and help in order to remain in that highly democratic district.

  13. - OneMan - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 12:07 pm:

    So what is the over/under on Smith’s resignation when the primary is over?

    Also any guesses on if Swiss pulls it off who the ‘write in’ will be?

  14. - Cook County Commoner - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 12:26 pm:

    I presume the Democrats have a good read on how the early voing went. All that remains is to draft up some new material for the precinct captains to discuss with the many voters they drive to the polls and for delivery at the polls, if the need exists to explain Smith is innocent until proven guilty blah blah blah. Assuming the early voting still gives Swiss a chance, he’d have to have the people to work each polling place, and probably well within the 100 foot limit. I don’t see he has those types of soldiers in the numbers he’d need. The 10th district primary election appears to only provide some reprioritization for local media coverage with additional charges to advertisers for time slots dedicated to 10th district coverage.

  15. - Newsclown - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 12:29 pm:

    Well, we impeached Blago before his federal trial. I’d say this is one time where it makes the better statement from a PR perspective to have Madigan utterly repudiate Smith and worry about reclaiming his seat for the dems later. The worst PR for the dems is to back Smith now. Second-worst is to be seen to be running out the clock and trying to appoint a replacement after the primary, gaming the system.

    Just rip the band-aid off fast, Mike, and let the healing begin.

  16. - 47th Ward - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 12:31 pm:

    ===Madigan knows very well that once the new session starts Swiss will not only vote for Madigan for speaker, but also will need his staff, money and help in order to remain in that highly democratic district.===

    Really? If you wrote the opposite of that you’d be in the ballpark. If Swiss wins he’ll be dead to the Speaker. If Cross wants him, he can have him, but Swiss will be an island unto himself in Springfield for exactly two years and not one minute longer.

    And Swiss dropped almost $100K on this race, further proof that a fool and his money are soon parted. Where does Swiss think this adventure will take him? A stepping stone to a political career as a Democratic elected official? Hah!

    Good luck with that.

  17. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 12:33 pm:

    ==Swiss will not only vote for Madigan for speaker, but also will need his staff, money and help in order to remain in that highly democratic district.==

    LOL! Swiss would get a difficult to find office in the basement of the Stratton Building and would be lucky if got assigned to one committee. Madigan. In two years, he would face a very well funded challenger in the primary.

  18. - too obvious - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 12:39 pm:

    Newsclown, that’s ridiculous.

    In a few days this will all be over. Wednesday’s headline, “By enormous margin, voters prefer accused bribe taker Smith over proven fraud Tom Swiss.”

    It’s absurd to expect Mike Madigan to help hand a state rep seat over to a Republican interloper who is trying to mislead Madigan’s flock of Democratic voters.

    There’s little doubt in my mind that Smith is probably guilty as charged, but that doesn’t mean you reward another dishonest guy.

  19. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 12:39 pm:

    I agree the first one is downright offensive and the second is clearly intentionally deceptive as to the race of the candidate. The third is fair game, though I agree that it’s doubtful Mr. Swiss would have voted any other way.

  20. - 32nd Ward Roscoe Village - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 12:48 pm:

    New suggested motto: “Tom Swiss, you liked his cheese, now vote for the man!” (sorry, my 10-year-old thought it was hilarious.)

  21. - CircularFiringSquad - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 12:50 pm:

    Gotta Love Gags Brady….GOPie candidates are wandering all over IL trying to get the few scraps the media give to politics in the closing days of what will be a very sad outcome in the state and he is blabbing about some Dem state rep primary.
    All the while he is failing to explain why he allowed these crooked petitions for the GOP presidential primary. Maybe his new name will be Nite ‘o of the RoundTable.
    What’s number in the parade?

  22. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 12:53 pm:

    Seems simple to me, why doesn’t he just issue a statement that he’s very disappointed in the alleged conduct and if the allegations are proven to have merit he would ask Smith to step down? Gets everyone through Tuesday and avoids this awkward silence. I guess anything short of an immediate demand for resignation could be used as campaign material for the GOP, but is there really a shortage of anti-Madigan material out there?

  23. - titan - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 1:04 pm:

    It certainly isn’t hard ot imagine a regular Democratic organization backed New Party or Independent candidate filing in the district in June, should Mr. Swiss prevail in the primary.

  24. - OneMan - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 1:10 pm:

    Wonder if Madigan is going to remain mum on the yard sign guy as well…

  25. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 1:15 pm:

    Ye gods! My last post turned out oddly…let’s try again.

    LOL! Swiss would get a difficult to find office in the basement of the Stratton Building and would be lucky if he got assigned to one committee. In two years, he would face a very well funded challenger in the primary.

  26. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 1:20 pm:

    Revealing choices by the Tribbies in their “Madigan Shenanigans” edit.

    Back in the day, an allegation of a couple stolen yard signs, with no charges filed, might have rated a couple of paragraphs from a City News Bureau stringer.

    Allegations of harassment and slashed tires would have required some real reporting and editing before it made the paper.

    But since the Tribbies were instrumental in putting CNB out of business, and have been canning veteran reporters and newsroom editors left and right for a few years, including earlier this week, I guess such major news gets elevated straight to deep thinkers in The Tower.

    Of course, readers are deprived of the fruits of actual gumshoe reporting — crazy things like police statements, quotes from the accused campaign, any information confirming connection with the Madigan campaign — something more than “she says.”

    They probably don’t have the folks to do that kind of reporting anymore. Writing edits are easier and more fun, anyway. Pick your conclusion and work backwards.

  27. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 1:26 pm:

    Yet another reason I hate yard signs.

  28. - Fed up - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 1:27 pm:

    Madigan is to busy having his staff steal lawn signs. Hmmmi wonder if Lisa would look at these violations of the law. Oh that’s right Lisa doesn’t do that. Break all the laws you want in Illinois when Lisa is the AG.

  29. - OneMan - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 1:27 pm:

    Wordslinger — It’s an editorial….

  30. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 1:30 pm:

    @Fed Up -

    Um, the AG doesn’t have jurisdiction. Its up to the Cook County States Attorney.

    And frankly, I’d be surprised if anyone thinks its a good idea to waste taxpayer resources prosecuting yard sign vandalism.

    I am curious as to how the Tribune was able to run the plates of a vehicle…I was not aware that was publicly available information.

  31. - 42nd Ward - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 1:45 pm:

    You guys are off. This will be Rosty-Flanigan all over again. Swiss gets a two year stint. After that, who knows.

  32. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 1:48 pm:

    –Wordslinger — It’s an editorial….–

    That’s my point, dude.

    Without regard to the basic rules of reporting, you’re able to put out unsubstantiated allegations of harassment, tire slashings and other vandalism under the headline “Madigan Shenanigans,” a few days before an election.

    Those sort of editorials happen all the time, right?

    And we should take their word for it that “we checked — the car is registered to a campaign worker for House Speaker Michael Madigan.” What is Jake Gittes working on the edit board now, calling in favors from his old partners at the precinct? Working the streets of Midway?

    If the Tribbies are going roll that way, they should have just endorsed her. Makes you wonder why they didn’t?

  33. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 1:56 pm:

    And people wonder why those of us downstate have a disdain for Chicago.

  34. - IrishPirate - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 2:02 pm:


    don’t cross us Chicagoans. We’ll take away your prisons and put the downstate economy into more of a tailspin. Hell, we’ll start keeping our college students up here too and then you’ll really be screwed.

  35. - Hacksaw Duggin - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 2:10 pm:

    Why is everyone giving Swiss such a hard time? He’s just doing what the beloved Richard J Daley did when he first got elected to become a rep.

  36. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 2:14 pm:

    –And people wonder why those of us downstate have a disdain for Chicago.–

    I wonder where your holier-than-thou attitude comes from. You’ve been around the block a couple of times and know even a little of your state history, right?

  37. - OneMan - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 2:15 pm:

    == And we should take their word for it that “we checked — the car is registered to a campaign worker for House Speaker Michael Madigan.” ==

    Umm to some extent yeah, that is sort of what we have to do with newspapers, radio or even Rich… There has to be some trust there…

    Is what they are reporting seem implausible? Unlikely even?

  38. - JO JO - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 2:20 pm:

    I’ve had 4 Mike Jacobs signs torn out of my yard. He told me over 90% of his signs have been removed. Even the really large 6′ by 8′ signs. Ripped and kicked, torn down and taken.

  39. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 2:20 pm:

    – Umm to some extent yeah, that is sort of what we have to do with newspapers, radio or even Rich… There has to be some trust there…

    –Is what they are reporting seem implausible? Unlikely even? Is what they are reporting seem implausible? –

    You’re confusing me, dude. First, you said it’s an editorial, and now you’re saying they’re reporting.

    There’s a difference, which is (sigh), my point.

    You don’t trust reporting — you judge it based on evidence and attribution. Editorials are someone spouting off on a position.

    Which was the Trib piece, again?

  40. - JO JO - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 2:20 pm:

    I am shocked that Madigan has stooped to this.

  41. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 2:24 pm:

    ==I am shocked that Madigan has stooped to this.==

    Did you just move to Illinois?

  42. - Hacksaw Duggin - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 2:32 pm:

    Here you go Wordslinger, NBC 5 has more to the story

  43. - Wensicia - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 2:34 pm:

    ==Editorials are someone spouting off on a position.==

    Why bother checking pesky facts and evidence when a pre-conceived position works so well for you?

  44. - cover - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 2:38 pm:

    Of course the Trib’s reporter checked out whose license plate it was. “I have a friend down at the DMV.” “Where does he live?” “1060 West Addison.” “Let’s go.”

  45. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 2:44 pm:

    –Here you go Wordslinger, NBC 5 has more to the story–

    That’s just a verbatim account of an allegation with some editorializing at the end.

    I don’t know what you call it, but it ain’t reporting. Not until you get statements from the coppers, the alleged stalker, corroborating evidence, etc.

    Believe me, I know these things happen in politics. But throwing a brick through your own campaign office window, or some variation thereof, is the second oldest trick in the book.

    My interest is in the journalism, or weird version of it, being practiced by the Tribbies. It’s neither fish nor fowl.

    Kass might have to work this weekend, I guess, lol.

  46. - Team Sleep - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 2:58 pm:

    I don’t care what anyone says about my following statement, but Tom Swiss is only considered a fraud because of our closed primary system. In my mind, fraud is a hack posing as a doctor and harming people or a thief posing as a religious missionary raising money for an international children’s “charity” - not a Republican running as a Democrat to try and crack the Madigan bloc. He’s not doing anything against the law. Now if you want to call him a charlatan, I’m okay with that. But’s he’s not a fraud.

  47. - Objective Dem - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 2:59 pm:

    Madigan would never ask anyone to remove any signs without authorization from the property owner. He is too smart for that. The pea brain who removed the signs has brought on attention that MJM does not need. You know there will be more news stories to come from this. Madigan has done a workmanlike job in this campaign. There are thousands of Madigan signs on the southwest side. He has passed a significant law in the House of Reps. He is only guilty of putting too much trust in some idiots. He is undergoing some changes within the ward and district and needs to be more attentive to his staff and workers. Madigan is a genius and has stood the test of time because he works hard and has good staff in the past. Hopefully he recognizes that he must closely monitor his folks better and if necessary replace some of them to avoid this kind of nonsense in the future.

  48. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 3:12 pm:

    NBC5 didn’t quite redact everything. She appears to be claiming it’s the Moody brothers, or at least one of them. Those guys are literally out of this world. I have no evidence, but I wouldn’t put it past them. And they’ll never be fired. They’re the best MJM has.

  49. - Objective Dem - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 3:17 pm:

    They have worked countless targeted races over the years. If it is them, they likely put up most of the Madigan signs in the district so I agree that they would not be fired. They are tireless but a little extreme.

  50. - Demoralized - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 3:18 pm:


    Bite me.

  51. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 3:35 pm:

    Demoralized, forgive me, I forgot that politics outside of Cook County is the province of harp-playing angels.

    Where do the George Ryan and Bill Cellini statues stand in the Hall of Purity? Between Paul Powell and Orville Hodge?

  52. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 3:40 pm:

    This ain’t Flannigan v. Rosty, that was a general election, this is a primary, and further, Rosty got OUT of the primary under at least the cloud of indictment.

    I played 9 holes this afternoon, and saw no Tom Cross so I am pleased….

    Like Rich said, those are Madigan’s BEST, if anything they will be like Paulie Cicero aand Company when Henry Hill got pinched for the 1st time …

    Also, ther is no way on the green Earth that Swiss will be seated on the Dem’s side or Caucus with them, so let’s get beyond that, and further to that … Cross ain’t going to seat the guy if Swiss is dumb enough to ASK Madigan to seat him as a Dem …How can Cross trust Swiss if he is dumb enough to ask MJM to be seated as a Dem … no one can trust Swiss and that is a fact after this fiasco.

  53. - short memory - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 3:44 pm:

    It shouldn’t matter what party this bozo is from. Indicted for taking bribes should be more than enough to kick this guy to the curb with our last two governors in jail.

  54. - mark walker - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 3:58 pm:

    “Madigan remains mum on …”

    All-purpose headline.

  55. - Hacksaw Duggin - Friday, Mar 16, 12 @ 4:00 pm:

    She claims Moody here,

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    * Mike Pemberton/Voices: Newspaper, coffee and the way of the world in a hotel lobby
    * C-U haiku, Oct. 4, 2015
    * Esther Cepeda: Spare the talk of an 'Asian invasion'
    * John Frayne: Gunns mixed it up in an intimate setting
    * Ted Kooser: An American Life in Poetry, Oct. 4, 2015

    * Late field goal lifts Chicago Bears to first win
    * Lions travel to Seattle, face challenge to avoid 0-4 start
    * The Latest: Marshawn Lynch to miss game Monday night
    * Spike in Palestinian attacks raise fears of another Intifada
    * Images: Chicago Cubs shortstop Addison Russell's year

    * House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
    * Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
    * The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
    * Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
    * Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
    * CBD Oil, and politics
    * Simon considering state Senate bid
    * Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
    * Shutdown? State may not notice
    * Rep. Bob Dold

    * Senators Introduce Landmark Bipartisan Sen......

    * Kirk's VA bill fails to move ahead in Sena......
    * Committee Passage of Measure to Support Ju......
    * Chez Family Foundation Center for Wounded ......

    * McHenry Community High School teachers are out.
    * We drove to McHenry this Sunday to support striking teachers in District 156.
    * Party, and Decorate, and Trick-or-Treat, All In Sheridan Park on Halloween
    * Hebru Brantley Mural Completed On Broadway
    * East St. Louis teachers walk out.
    * Sunday posts, pics and tweets.
    * Meet Uptown's "Gangsters and Ghosts" On October 29th
    * You’re Invited – Illinois REbarcamp Powered by YPN!
    * Next 10 general admission registrants for Vertex 15 Conference get extras
    * Chicago chapter of NAREB collaborates to serve consumers

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