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*** UPDATED x1 *** Feeding Madigan’s ducklings

Wednesday, Feb 5, 2014

* As subscribers have known for a while, House Speaker Michael Madigan is backing indicted state Rep. Derrick Smith in his five-way Democratic primary. The Sun-Times takes a look

“We support incumbents,” Madigan’s longtime spokesman Steve Brown said when asked about the speaker’s endorsement of Smith. “He’s an incumbent.”

The indictment isn’t a factor?

“I believe — let me go back and check — oh, yeah, that’s right, I believe you are presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Brown said. “Isn’t that right?”

Uh, yeah, that’s right.

“Great,” Brown said. “Is that all?”

All right then, we offered you a chance and received no rousing defense of Smith. There was not even faint praise for us to convey to the voters of Smith’s diverse 10th Illinois House District, which covers an area from Lincoln Park to West Garfield Park.

All that matters is Smith is Madigan’s guy, and he hasn’t been convicted.

Smith received support from Madigan in the 2012 primary, but not when Smith faced a third party candidate in the general election because Smith had been ejected from the House by then. Now, he’s back. Madigan will need his vote on various things this spring, so he’s being supported.

It’s just cold calculation. Keep your members well-fed and happy and they’ll follow along.

* Meanwhile, Madigan’s ducklings often say stuff like this, but freshman Democratic state Rep. Kathleen Willis is being more than a bit ludicrous here

“I’m not going to deny that I have the support of the Illinois Democrats, but they don’t control me,” Willis said. “I value my independence.”

She was plucked by Madigan from almost complete obscurity to challenge longtime GOP Rep. Skip Saviano. She walked a lot of precincts, but the Madigan operation did pretty much everything for her, and that hand-holding continues to this day.

I mean, her Democratic primary opponent raised less than $2K last quarter and yet Willis has a Madigan campaign staffer in her district. That says something.

She was at an event in her district not long ago and confused the state Constitution’s drafting date with the establishment dates for the state’s pension funds, according to a top Democrat who was there and shaking his head in disbelief.

Willis is the perfect Madigan legislator: She loves walking precincts, but is otherwise dependent in almost every way.

*** UPDATE *** Speaking of ducklings

House Speaker Michael Madigan has too much power, but it’s not clear what can be done about it, state Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, said Tuesday.

Scherer, speaking to The State Journal-Register editorial board, said she was frustrated that a bill calling for Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland Co. to bring jobs to the city wasn’t called for a vote in December.

“I felt like I had to support it because of the number of jobs,” Scherer said. “I went to the speaker numerous times and asked him to call it for a vote. For whatever reasons, he didn’t call it for a vote.”

Asked if she thought Madigan had too much power, Scherer simply replied, “yes,” before adding that she does not know what can be done about it. Scherer said the fact Madigan provided several hundred thousand dollars to her 2012 election campaign, along with other staff support, didn’t make any difference.

What a goofy thing to say. She doesn’t know what can be done about Madigan’s power? How about voting against Madigan for Speaker? How about voting against Madigan’s House rules?

I’m just speechless at this response of hers.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - anon - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 10:43 am:


  2. - Levois - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 10:45 am:

    As for Derrick Smith this makes sense, but still disappointing. It still make me wonder what’s the point of a vote or votes when chances are he’ll find himself convicted. Yeah we know innocent until proven guilty.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 10:46 am:

    ===Willis is the perfect Madigan legislator: She loves walking precincts, but is otherwise dependent in almost every way.===

    That is so Spot On, that to add to such a perfect discription would be “criminal” …Sorry Derrick, “alleged”.

    To the Post,

    Caucus Loyalty is the most important element of a strong, diverse Caucus. Loyalty to the leadership, and in turn, the members bask in the warmth that is the Caucus Aparatus.

    Since “The Coup”, the HGOP decided to have “independent members to a strong Caucus”

    Cross’ experiment failed for many reasons, not excluding the idea of golfing on election day is acceptable.

    Durkin understands, and Durkin, with fierce loyalty to the ideals a unanimous Caucus gave TO him; Support the 47 of us, and watch our Diversity and Numbers Grow.


    I am with you Leader Durkin, keep up with what your Members ask, and how you “do your business”, and those numbers are going to rise. I am alwayes here to help!

  4. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    Shouldn’t they have asked Mr. Brown a follow up to his “innocent until proven guilty” comment? Maybe the follow up question could have been: “Then why was he removed from the House?”

  5. - LincolnLounger - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 10:55 am:

    It is truly stunning how incompetent Sue Scherer is.

  6. - Anon - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 10:56 am:

    ===Willis is the perfect Madigan legislator: She loves walking precincts, but is otherwise dependent in almost every way.===

    Oh how sad, but true. There are so many house members that fit the profile. They know it too.

  7. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 10:58 am:

    There is nothing wrong with supporting incumbents. It’s typically a sound practice.

    But in the case of Smith, one does not need to be flippant and take a perverse pride in doing so. Innocent until proven guilty, yes.

    Let’s not pretend, however, that is an offensive question to ask. This isn’t JFK or Roosevelt we’re talking about here. This is more like supporting Blago for reelection before he was “proven guilty”.

    It is possible to “support” Smith without insulting the intelligence of voters and the media, or pretending to be offended anyone would dare question you for supporting such a noble cause.

  8. - orzo - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:02 am:

    “He hasn’t been convicted” is a pretty low bar. I wonder if he considered asking Rep.Smith about specific allegations in the indictment, to determine whether they are actions worthy of a recipient of the Speaker’s endorsement. Naahh…

  9. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    The Scherer and Willis comments are hilarious.

  10. - Marty Funkhouser - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:06 am:

    Scherer is another perfect Madigan legislator, but she’s also an all-too-typical Springfield-area lawmaker — a backbencher. Ray Poe couldn’t even get a token leadership slot after his run for leader. Nice that the region has Andy Manar, a guy who could legitimately contend for Senate president someday, but you’ve got to wonder about his long-term prospects with the voters of that district.

  11. - Mark Calonder - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:10 am:

    The main question is: “Have you had enough?” If people want something COMPLETELY different, someone saying something we ALL know to be true, someone who’s got the guts to say in the current public arena, then you have to check out and support me: Mark Calonder- candidate for the 10th district– from the 10th district since 1890, sm. business owner, 1st time running for office, son of a Chicago school teacher. Come to tonight’s forum in Wicker Park (see FB page). I guarentee you’ll hear things NO ONE else is saying (publicly). Come be part of what is turning into a true Chicago revolution. Enough is enough.

  12. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:19 am:

    “Nothing can be done about it” is just a perfect response illustrating how she feels about biting the hand that feeds her. In her mind, it’s incomprehensible that she would be expected to vote for her constituents best interests instead of Madigan’s.

  13. - yo - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:21 am:

    Brown should tread more lightly. If you want to stay king, you must take care how you talk to the subjects.

  14. - Finally Out (formerly Ready to Get Out) - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:22 am:

    Word…I have to agree it’s hilarious, but on the other hand I have to say it’s sad that people like this represent us. Or worse that the voters elect them!

  15. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:23 am:

    ===you must take care how you talk to the subjects===

    His “subjects” are his members.

  16. - So. ILL - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:24 am:

    If he’s innocent until proven guilty then why did the House vote to throw him out of the House?

  17. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:25 am:

    Obviously most of these people aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer or he would have more trouble controlling them. It’s essentially legalized extortion. But the poor dumb citizens who keep voting these people in are not to be excused either.

  18. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:27 am:

    –It’s essentially legalized extortion.–

    Who’s extorting whom?

  19. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:28 am:

    Someone not a regular reader here and not understanding how our particular form of representational gov’t works in Illinois might come away from this stream thinking that elections don’t matter - that the conclusion is determined even before the primary.

    Ah, but we know better, don’t we?

  20. - Mark Calonder - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:28 am:

    Dear all: we have the gov’t we’ve voted for. We got what we asked for…it’s simply time to ask for something totally new.

  21. - yo - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:42 am:

    I wasn’t implying the press were his subjects, but the people at large. when you control one chamber you touch everyone in the state. sometimes that touch is nice, sometimes it isn’

  22. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:42 am:

    ===Ray Poe couldn’t even get a token leadership slot after his run for leader.===

    So you know he waan’t offered one? You know Leader Durkin dismisses Rep. Poe?

    If you have information on that, please share.

  23. - circularfiringsquad - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:47 am:

    Dear Mr/Ms Demoralized
    If you recall Rep. Smith was removed because some genius filed a motion, a vote was taken and out he went. In the meantime the VOTERS in the district picked him again
    Perhaps the real problem lies with allowing the voters to vote for the candidates on the ballot
    Perhaps you and genius who tossed him the first time can fashion that constitutional amendment.

  24. - OurMagician - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    Remember Sue Scherer is a teacher not a politician according to all her ads in 2012.

  25. - Big Muddy - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    Like Rauner, don’t like Rauner but it is stuff like this that have people seeing him as they guy that can put an end to it. Not saying he can, but good lord what an easy thing for him to target.

  26. - Finally Out (formerly Ready to Get Out) - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:50 am:

    OurMagician…Hopefully for her kids she is a better teacher than a politician!

  27. - Just Me - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:52 am:

    If the Speaker believes people are innocent then proven guilty, then someone please explain the whole Blagojevich impeachment thing. He was impeached within weeks of being indicted but months before he was found guilty.

  28. - PoolGuy - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:54 am:

    with respect Big Muddy, Rauner has his own PAC idea to get people from both sides loyal to him. that won’t end it at all.

  29. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    Turns out legislators are about as dumb as regular folks, and building on the comment from Demoralized, most journalists too.

    ==The Scherer and Willis comments are hilarious.==

    Are we laughing instead of crying?

  30. - Ferris Bueller - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    Wasn’t Derrick Smith “innocent until proven guilty” during the last election when Madigan and other Dems threw their support (money & staff) to the Lance Tyson campaign. He ran as a thrid party canddiate against Smith and the print materials all said he had the support of the Dem Party. What’s changed?

  31. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    === What’s changed? ===

    Already explained above. Try to read posts before commenting. Thanks.

  32. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    Maybe Madigan wants Rauner? Maybe he sees that he is the leader in the primary before most did. Didn’t he make a comment about him specifically after pension reform? He plays chess… It’s Illinois. I trust no one for us common folk… I know it’s a stretch. But with all the troubles the state is in, wouldn’t it help Madigan to have an R to have some power to saddle with blame finally?

  33. - Steve - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    As everyone knows, Mike Madigan is a lawyer. Here’s a link to the ARDC website down below. Is Mike Madigan violating his oath as a licensed lawyer in Illinois by openly supporting something accused of bribery on an FBI wire????

  34. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 1:03 pm:

    –Is Mike Madigan violating his oath as a licensed lawyer in Illinois by openly supporting something accused of bribery on an FBI wire????–

    Say what? Are defense attorneys violating their oath by representing the accused? What an odd question.

  35. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 1:03 pm:


    I’m not sure why your disdain is directed at me. I was simply pointing out Mr. Brown’s comment that somebody is innocent until proven guilty and the seeming disconnect between that and Rep. Smith’s removal from the House. And please don’t lump me in with the “geniuses” that re-elected Rep. Smith.

  36. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 1:04 pm:


    Ditto to your reply to @Steve. That’s just a dopey statement.

  37. - Mr. Big Trouble - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    Hey Mark Colander.. I think you are too old to represent the 10th district! Retread what you posted

  38. - Oneman - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    Asked if she thought Madigan had too much power, Scherer simply replied, “yes,” before adding that she does not know what can be done about it. Scherer said the fact Madigan provided several hundred thousand dollars to her 2012 election campaign, along with other staff support, didn’t make any difference.

    Of course it doesn’t make any difference…. The question is does she really think that or does she think people will believe tha? Both of those are rather sad.

  39. - Under Influenced - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    Sue “space cadet” Scherer never ceases to amaze…

  40. - jake - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    The mention of Derrick Smith leads me to the issue of honesty in government, which leads me to raise an issue from the 103rd District. One of the Dem candidates in the primary, Carol Ammons, has so far presented two big ethical problems. One is that she ran for Urbana school board in 2003 and was elected, but could not take her seat when it was revealed that she actually did not live in Urbana and that the Urbana address she listed on her nominating petitions was fraudulent. Her second problem is that she has been listing in her credentials a degree from Walsingham University, for which there is no evidence of actual existence other than its own web site, so that it appears to be a diploma mill that simply sells diplomas to be used as false educational credentials.

    I have started saying to people here that if Ammons were to be elected she would be the second most ethically challenged member of the Illinois House, behind Derrick Smith. But I bet other readers of this blog could provide good nominations for “most ethically challenged member of the Illinois House.” I am an evidence-based guy, so I would be happy to move Carol down the list from #2, based on evidence that other House members are equally or more ethically challenged.

  41. - Steve - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    To wordslinger:

    Mike Madigan isn’t acting as a defense attorney in this situation. The question might be odd to ethically compromised people.

  42. - Anon III - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 1:51 pm:

    “innocent until proven guilty”

    Most of the commenters here know that to say that an accused is innocent until proven guilty is a partial statement of the burden of proof in a criminal trial. It has meaning only in the context of such a trial.

    Guilt is commonly understood as the fact of having committed a breach of conduct or a crime.

    John Wilkes Booth was never tired or convicted. Was he guilty of assassination?

  43. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 2:01 pm:

    Steve, the ARDC argument is beyond lame. This is politics, man.

  44. - DuPage - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 2:21 pm:

    @Steve@12:35, =Is Mike Madigan violating his oath as a licensed lawyer by openly supporting someone accused=
    Probably not, lots of politicians are accused of a lot of things, i.e. Rutherford.

    I think he might be a lot more guilty of violating his oath of upholding the Illinois constitution by diminishing the state pensions.
    He knows it is unconstitutional. You don’t even have to be a lawyer to see that as it is in plain language.

  45. - walker - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    Being dependent on campaign resources, and being “bought” for voting are two different things.

    They don’t have to go together. You will find differing voting patterns among so-called “mushrooms”. How does that happen if they all just follow Madigan’s line?

    Agree with Rich, the ultimate signifier would be voting to change the rules, where it counts.

  46. - cicero - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 3:25 pm:

    It’s incredible that Scherer feels no loyalty or sense of reciprocation for the guy who put her there. Does she think she did it herself? Or is she just an ingrate?

  47. - walker - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 3:33 pm:

    It’s smart to defend incumbents, but not those who bring embarrassment to your whole party.

    Smith should be gone by any means available.

  48. - Arthur Andersen - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 5:56 pm:

    Cicero, alternative #3: She’s just that dumb.

  49. - Steve - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 6:09 pm:

    It takes a sense of style to endorse an indicted politician caught taking a bribe on an FBI wire. Mike Madigan sure has high ethics, the ethics of someone who went in public service to become a millionaire of the Illinois taxpayers.

  50. - Stranger Yet - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 7:12 pm:

    1) “Innocent until proven guilty” should apply to everyone but child molesters and politicians.

    2) Madigan is a bigger criminal than Smith so why is anyone surprised?

  51. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 8:31 pm:

    - Stranger Yet -,


    And when MJM gets charges with a crime, then call him a criminal.

    Your drive-bys are getting more Dopey.

  52. - Goya - Wednesday, Feb 5, 14 @ 11:09 pm:

    Just curious, but does Madigan have any clout with the ARDC? He seems to have sway with every other entity

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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