He’s widely considered the most powerful politician in Illinois, but there’s no proof that House Speaker Mike Madigan uses his numerous roles to influence Democrats throughout the state.
Nor that he mixes government and politics.
At least that’s what lawyers for the head of the state Democratic Party argue in their latest federal court filing, seeking to knock down a lawsuit accusing Madigan of using his vast power to rig elections and punish enemies. Madigan’s lawyers produced the lengthy reply on Monday in their quest to resolve the lawsuit before it could head to a trial. […]
“Defendants dispute that Defendant Madigan uses the numerous roles he holds to influence Democrats at all levels of government,” Madigan’s lawyers wrote. “The evidence cited does not support this statement, nor does the record otherwise support a statement.”
His lawyers also wrote that they “object to the word ‘influence’ as unreasonably vague, and ambiguous.”
Who in their right mind would ever believe that statement from Madigan’s attorneys?
* But there is a very hyper-lawyerly explanation for this. If you read the joint defendant response, you’ll see it very specifically references this exchange in Madigan’s deposition…
Q: We talked about your role as a 13th Ward Democratic Committeeman. We talked bit about your role as a Third Congressional District State Central Committeeman. We talked a little bit about the role that you’re in as Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, and I just want to ask you about that in particular. … What other role or position do you play or occupy as the Chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois?
A: You work with any Illinois Democratic which is to get involved with the Democratic Party of Illinois. You work with different candidates and so today there you are Democratic candidates for State Offices, and we’re working with them to help them get elected. In addition, we work with candidates for the Illinois House, candidates for the Illinois Senate, candidates for the United States Congress.
So, the objection was over what the MJM lawyers claim was a mischaracterization of what Madigan said. Madigan, they say, didn’t actually admit to using “the numerous roles he holds to influence Democrats at all levels of government.” As Hannah Meisel noted today…
In an additional 64-page filing Monday, Madigan’s attorneys also attempted to have multiple exhibits of evidence introduced by Gonzales’ campaign excluded from the case, a standard legal move.
* Meisel also wrote about a different MJM filing today…
Attorneys for House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) shot back at former primary challenger Jason Gonzales in a new court filing Monday, attempting to deconstruct Gonzales’ argument that Madigan allegedly putting up two “sham” candidates with Hispanic last names like Gonzales’ was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause to the 14th Amendment. […]
But Madigan’s lawyers pointed do a four-pronged legal test laid out in a 1973 case in front of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, in which two Democratic state senators were accused of pulling a bait-and-switch after one of them was drawn out of his old district after the 1970 Census and 1971 redistricting process.
In that case, State Sen. Robert Cherry was challenged by Ronald Smith in the 1972 primary election, and received 53 percent of the vote. But Smith alleged that Cherry had never intended on running in the general election, as evidenced by his dropping out of the race in September of that year, and being replaced on the ballot by State Sen. Ben Palmer — the senator who had been drawn out of his own district. […]
Madigan’s attorneys claimed that even Gonzales himself had previously conceded in filings for the case that Madigan would have supported Barboza or Rodriguez if either had won the 2016 primary, meaning neither of them had been placed on the ballot to pull any sort of bait-and-switch scheme.
* Also from that filing and mentioned by Hannah…
Plaintiff’s definition of a “sham” candidate—based on the time and other resources he or she devotes to the campaign—is both impossible to administer and would disproportionately subject less popular and well‐funded candidates to the threat of litigation
Heck, I’m so old I remember when a bona fide sham candidate named Michelle Chavez actually won a House race…
Chavez, a Democrat, was elected in 2004, defeating incumbent Republican Frank Aguilar in what was thought to be a non-competitive race. She had run in the primary, allegedly at the behest of Aguilar, and won the Democratic nomination, after which she did very little campaigning, for the general election.
Chavez was celebrating at Rep. Aguilar’s victory party when she found out she beat him.