Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » AG Madigan’s timing questioned
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
AG Madigan’s timing questioned

Monday, Jan 30, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* SJ-R editorial on Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s legal filing on state worker pay

What’s inexcusably wrong is the timing. Madigan said with a new legislative session underway, it was the appropriate time to ask the court to reconsider. She’s asked the court to terminate the injunction on Feb. 28, giving a firm deadline and restoring urgency to get the almost 19-month-old budget impasse resolved.

That argument could hold water - if there had been no substantive recent action on a budget. And while legislators have appeared blind to it, urgency has been a part of this impasse since day one. Just ask any of the vendors waiting for the 141,225 unpaid bills, worth a collective $10.7 billion, to be processed by the state. Or talk to one of the nearly 1 million people throughout Illinois who didn’t get help they needed during the fiscal year where there wasn’t a budget, according to United Way estimates.

Those vendors and clients had reason for hope recently because there were honest efforts at compromise in the Senate, where President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, and Minority Leader Christine Radogno, R-Lemont, have diligently worked together for the past month on a bipartisan budget package. Gov. Bruce Rauner gave his sincere thanks during his State of the State address Wednesday, and implored them to keep working on an agreement.

Lawmakers were finally putting people before politics. The tone of the conversation was slowly changing as politicians together sought solutions. The budget package lit a flame under lawmakers that was intensifying on its own as senators debated and amended the proposal in attempts to improve the plan. Madigan’s actions Thursday added unneeded fuel to that fire: A glance at the statements from the usual political players shows the tentative bridges that had started being built could now come tumbling down. […]

Madigan’s action was the antithesis of the collaboration the state had started to see. If this lone-wolf action slows the momentum that had started and reverts the Capitol to shouting over who is most to blame instead of reaching a budget compromise, Illinois residents will continue to be the ones who suffer.

* The Belleville News-Democrat was far more direct

If this were a board game, you would have quit long ago because there was no way to win at “Illinopoly.”

“At a meeting I attended just this morning, a comment was made that, ‘as soon as deals in Illinois are close to done, someone always tries to blow it up,’” said state Rep. Avery Bourne, a Republican from the Litchfield area.

The Illinois Senate seems on the verge of hammering out a budget deal with some of the reforms insisted on by a governor who refuses to continue monkey business as usual. Here comes Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, daughter of the game master, who wakes up after 18 months to decide, “Hey. We shouldn’t be paying state workers without a budget. I’ll sue.”

* Mark Brown

If anything, I question why the attorney general didn’t push this issue sooner, which, by the way, is totally consistent with her legal defense of Rauner’s failure to pay social service providers.

At this point, it doesn’t matter. This is the right move.

I don’t want to see state workers go unpaid. I want the state to come up with a budget.

Amid the howls in reaction to the attorney general’s move were complaints the added pressure could disrupt ongoing talks by Illinois Senate leaders, who have provided the first glimmer of hope in a while that a resolution is possible.

Sorry, everyone needs to feel that pressure.

When Senate President John Cullerton and Republican Leader Christine Radogno visited our offices a week ago to tout their proposed deal, they both made it clear a budget needs to be approved now, not months from now. […]

In that light, I don’t see anything unreasonable about Madigan asking a judge to set a Feb. 28 date for wrapping up a budget before stopping state workers pay. The judge could also set a later date.

The important point is that we don’t let this continue indefinitely.

* Sun-Times

On Thursday, Attorney General Lisa Madigan set the wheels in motion for tens of thousands of state workers to stop being paid if a state budget is not approved by Feb. 28. Effectively, that would mean a government shutdown. Madigan did so, she explained, to create overwhelming pressure on the state Legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner to finally cut a deal.

Here’s our problem with that: Working people once again are being treated like pawns in a game of power by politicians who will never have to worry about living paycheck to paycheck. If Madigan’s gambit does not work, they will pay the price. And we can’t be sure of her motives. Maybe she’s the most honest of brokers, just trying to force an end to the budget impasse. Or maybe she’s working an angle with the Speaker of the Illinois House, Michael J. Madigan, who happens to be her father.

Lisa Madigan will object to that charge. She has worked hard over the years to show she runs her office independent of her father, and there is no evidence she’s doing his bidding now. But there also is no escaping the bad optics. Given that the Speaker and attorney general are father and daughter, skeptics will always suspect a tag team. And Lisa Madigan’s latest legal maneuver is giving her father’s number-one foe, Rauner, fits. A government shutdown threatens much of Rauner’s leverage to force pro-business reforms as part of a budget package.

Nonetheless, Attorney General Madigan appears to be on firm legal ground — and that means the clock is ticking. If a budget agreement is not reached, state workers may not get paid beginning in March.

* Greg Hinz

Now, Team Rauner is of the opinion that Madigan acted now because her father doesn’t like the grand budget deal the heads of the Senate, President John Cullerton and Republican Leader Christine Radogno, are trying to push through against tough odds. Speaker Madigan wants to do as little as possible until 2018, hoping to unseat Rauner in that year’s election, they suggest.

That may be true. On the other hand, some top Democrats believe Rauner is trying to sandbag the deal.

And some folks believe Lisa Madigan’s move could boost pressure on lawmakers to finally act. “It’s a gentle nudge to get something done,” says one well-connected business lobbyist.

I don’t know. What I do know is that, as a matter of good public policy, Lisa Madigan’s action is appropriate. Tardy, but appropriate.

If lawmakers continue to squabble and paychecks are halted, voters will be furious and take it out on somebody. Good. They should.

And maybe the fear of that finally will get us a budget.


  1. - Throne Sitter - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:59 am:

    … But not her legal argument.

  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 10:59 am:

    All this whining from the governor and GOP lawmakers tells me they believe the courts will find that it’s unconstitutional to pay employees without an approp.

    That’s what they’re crying about. That they will lose the ability to act outside the Constitution.

  3. - Hamlet's Ghost - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 11:01 am:

    = = Team Rauner is of the opinion that Madigan acted now because her father doesn’t like the grand budget deal = =

    This is backwards and makes no sense.

    Going forward, the best way to nullify AG Madigan’s lawsuit is to pass and sign a budget.

    The lawsuit doesn’t hinder or impede Cullerton, Radogno, Durkin and Rauner all reaching an agreement on the budget to paint Madigan into a corner.

  4. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 11:02 am:

    With a lack of discussion that goes after the legality of the move by the Attorney General…

    … it’s all about the loss of leverage.

    That’s where governors own.

    Gotta govern at some point. Leverage ain’t governing.

  5. - Roman - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 11:03 am:

    The crocodile tears from Rauner, Durkin, Bourne, etc. about how Lisa is jeopardizing the fledgling senate compromise are a bit much to take.

    None of them have come out and supported a single element of the Cullerton-Ragdono deal. In fact, there is considerable circumstantial evidence that Rauner is fighting it behind the scenes.

  6. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 11:12 am:

    I do not believe the Senate can pass compromise legislation until the Governor submits a balanced budget incorporating the proposed tax increases. The budget is how cuts will be measured and implemented.

    Her timing is excellent.

  7. - HL Mencken - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 11:13 am:

    The only thing wrong with her timing was she waited 19 months. Had the government come to a halt July 1, 2015 we would not find ourselves in the mess we are presently in. NO ONE (including state pensioners, which I am) should have been paid.

  8. - Keyser Soze - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    It was nice to see the AG spring into action.

  9. - wondering - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 11:20 am:

    H.L. Mencken, I am not so sure her timing was bad. She had to wait for this boil to fester before lancing it. Had she moved 19 months ago she would have been accused of intervening with sincere budget negotiations. No one can accuse her of that at this stage, even though IPI is trying.

  10. - The Gen - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 11:21 am:

    Bruce Rauner has been treating state employees and Illinois citizens like pawns for 2 years so lay off of AG Madigan.

  11. - quincy - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 11:22 am:

    Maybe it would help if Rauner would just put a budget together and drop everything else, So other things can get done. He should be a real gov and do his job

  12. - Happily Retired - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 11:52 am:

    Maybe the governor received some sage advice on this issue from the Koch brothers this past weekend.

  13. - dr. reason a. goodwin - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 11:54 am:

    The AG is just copying the Governor’s use of “leverage.”

  14. - Nonsense - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 1:25 pm:

    I’m with @Roman.

    Let’s stop pretending like the Senate’s “grand compromise” is an actual thing until it passes. Complaining about Lisa derailing it is a complete red herring — particularly if you’re not fighting to get it passed.

  15. - Winnin' - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 1:56 pm:

    Lisa Madigan just helpin’ Bruce Rauner to do his job.

  16. - Cubs in '16 - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 2:10 pm:

    ===Had she moved 19 months ago she would have been accused of intervening with sincere budget negotiations.===

    This is exactly right. And, if memory serves, 19 months ago no one guessed we’d still be without a budget today. Predicting the month and year we’d get a budget was a popular topic on this blog and I don’t remember too many prognosticators saying we’d still be lacking a budget two years into Rauner’s term.

  17. - downstate commissione - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 2:45 pm:

    What amazes me is the local Facebook page blaming “the Madigans” for all of the problems that the unpaid state workers will have. I attempted to explain that Lasa’s action was a good thing, but to our local downstate Facebook commenters, it is all about the Madigans and how rich they are… Sad.

  18. - facts are stubborn things - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 2:46 pm:

    A critical missing pressure point. AFSCME had to come out against the AG, but deep down they love it!

  19. - Retired State Employee - Monday, Jan 30, 17 @ 3:13 pm:

    You are all missing the point. Should AG Madigan be successful, and should a strike occur at the end of January, Rauner would NOT be able to hire replacement workers because he could not pay them because there would be no appropriation. It is a smart strategy.

  20. - Rabid - Tuesday, Jan 31, 17 @ 7:11 am:

    Turnaround turnaround can’t wait
    Turnaround turnaround taste great

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Proft paper, or not?
* Great mystery solved, kinda
* Today's quotable
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Debate open thread
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...







Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

October 2022
September 2022
August 2022
July 2022
June 2022
May 2022
April 2022
March 2022
February 2022
January 2022
December 2021
November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller