House Speaker Michael J. Madigan released the following statement Wednesday regarding the Jan. 7 WBEZ story:
“These are extremely serious and troubling allegations. I had no knowledge of the incident referenced in the story and only learned of this today. I encourage those with any information to come forward.”
Your thoughts? (And that will serve as our Question of the Day.)
It is entirely possible that Madigan did not know about the specific incidents mentioned in the emails, but fully benefited from the perception that McClain was his enforcer and could make things unpleasant for the PQ people. The culture of the Madigan operation is his creation. The adherence to loyalty above anything else, the bullying, the threats. He did not need to know the details, other people took care of it. Sad, and time for it to stop.
There really wasn’t anything Madigan could have said other than this. Do I think Madigan knew about the rape allegation? No, I just don’t see it. I also think it’s possible that Madigan didn’t know about every ghost payroller in existence .
“These are extremely serious and troubling allegations. I had no knowledge of the incident referenced in the story and only learned of this today. I encourage those with any information to come forward.
This is the second big story in recent weeks related to emails McClain sent to government accounts that were obtained by reporters through FOIA requests. (The other was the Sun-Times story about McClain trying to torpedo Anne Caprara’s appointment as COS.)
There’s no doubt that several reporters have filed FOIAs asking for copies of any emails McClain has sent to state government accounts. That raises a lot of questions: Does the governor’s office have more McClain emails lined-up for release? Are the JB folks offering friendly suggestions to reporters about what to FOIA? Are emails McClain sent to the Speaker staff’s government accounts FOIA-able? (If I’m not mistaken, the state legislature unsurprisingly exempted themselves from some FOIA requirements. So the answer might be “no.”) But man, if McClain is was unguarded enough to put some of that stuff in writing and send it to the guv’s office, I’d love to see what he was sending his friends in the speaker’s office.
- The Sterminator - Wednesday, Jan 8, 20 @ 3:07 pm:
I agree with Soccermom: the unreported rape was clearly for the benefit of Pat Quinn. Stermer clearly already knew about it, and given that the only person above Stermer was Quinn, its a safe bet that Stermer okayed it.
There was “no love lost” between Madigan and Quinn, i kind of doubt there was anything for him to gain. on the otherhand, i can see McClain holding onto this information for his own use. As previously suggested, it seems he had a habit of representing his own interests as The Speaker’s interests.
“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney (Ha!!), one will be provided for you.” #DripDripDrip
- Paul Powell's Shoebox - Wednesday, Jan 8, 20 @ 3:13 pm:
Madigan is just lying here, he knows exactly what “the most trusted of the trusted” are doing, every day all day. There might be a buffer or no direct trail, but someone who is that in control just doesn’t not know. To channel the great native philosopher, unknown unknowns do not exist in Himself’s world
My bet is that the Speaker knew about the two felonies that supposedly happened. I would bet that there are many people beside him in Illinois government that know about two felonies. Governor Pritzker was correct to forward these allegations to the proper authorities. Good for him. The facts need to be verified and then acted on if true. If true, there will be tremendous fallout throughout Illinois Government. This is not a small revelation. But this is not solely a “Madigan” Story. What seems to be missing in the discussion is what did former Governor Quinn and his two key advisors know that are on the email chain. While this is a stunning email from Mike McClain, as stated before, he weaponized information that he already knew about. This information seems to have had an effect on Quinn Administration officials enough that they chose to not take actions against the individual McClain was helping because of the facts of the email. This is a bigger Quinn administration story. They stopped punishment of an employee to hide specific felonies from potentially coming to light that would have been bad for Pat Quinn.
He may have had data. Could have had information. But we should give him the benefit of doubt when he says he had no knowledge; he has never seemed to demonstrate a whiff of wisdom (for all you DIKW hierarchy fans out there).
Despite the undeniably close relationship between the two, it is at least in the realm of reasonable possibility that on some items McClain was freelancing.
Madigan is not omnipotent, even if sometimes portrayed as such.
There’s also the reasonably possibility that some of those he trusted to behave ethically and/or lawfully betrayed him, acting without his knowledge. If so, placing trust in such individuals was obviously a gravely serious mistake.
Without question, all efforts must be undertaken to determine what may have happened with regard to the disturbing issues raised by the email.
Madigan and Quinn have a notoriously rocky relationship. While I find it plausible that the Speaker doesn’t have knowledge of the incident, I find it “extremely serious and troubling” that this was all he could put together for a statement. It’s time for him to either step up on these issues or step down as Speaker.
House Democrats should recognize that this horrific news hobbles their Speaker permanently. The Governor can easily ignore even reasonable requests from members of the caucus as long as this cancer lingers. Media will be hard pressed to be sympathetic. Suburban women will begin to wonder where their best interests really lie. This one cannot be ignored and will not go away. It sickens me, and I know I am not alone feeling that way.
- The Sterminator - Wednesday, Jan 8, 20 @ 4:13 pm:
=== I find it very hard to believe Jerry Stermer
was involved in covering up crimes. ===
I find it very hard to believe that someone could eat 74 hotdogs and buns in ten minutes too, but I can read.
I mean, I suppose it’s possible Stermer was really busy that day and never opened the email about the rape thingy so he could respond to it.
Or maybe WBEZ forgot to ask for or failed to receive the email response from Stermer to McClain saying “I have no idea what rape you are talking about.”
@Moe Berg =At the same time, I’m mindful that sometimes in life, the person you thought you knew isn’t who they are in reality.=
I might say that about an acquaintance who “fooled me once”, but we’re talking about a man (Madigan) who put all his faith in another (McClain) for decades. Mike Madigan knows all about Mike McClain, make no mistake.
This is no one-off relationship where Madigan was taken off guard by something “untoward” McClain may have done. This is serious stuff.
@ Anon-ka-donk: cinema, theater and literature are filled with stories of people betrayed by people they thought they knew.
What it means to be a human, in part, is to be a creature who trusts. Trust isn’t really a consideration for non-hominid species on this planet.
Everyday in big and small ways we place trust in others. Sometimes, we are let down.
Your interpretation may be right, but you cannot know for certain it is at this moment.
As you say, this is most certainly serious stuff. For myself, I resist judgment until more facts are known.
- Ginhouse Tommy - Wednesday, Jan 8, 20 @ 4:37 pm:
Kind of hard to believe that someone who knows everything that goes on under the dome suddenly missed this. Makes you wonder what other bones were buried if you know what I mean.
- Back to the Future - Wednesday, Jan 8, 20 @ 4:39 pm:
Hear you on Jerry Stermer.
I have not seen him for years, but he always seemed like a
an honest fellow. Rest assured if I wrong about someone in politics it won’t be the first time.
This McClain seems toxic. Reading his emails I am surprised anyone had anything to do with him.
=== Now that statements are out, I would expect more coverage.===
WBEZ has done a great job getting the story out, the next level of this story is the continuing reax going forward, and following these electeds to more emails (I gonna go on a limb and say this is probably not the last email we’ll see) and the fallout.
There’s also ongoing investigations (I guessing they’re ongoing) by the Feds might shed more light if they ever get to a public step in the process.
“For a man that controls everything he sure seems to not know anything.” and “Kind of hard to believe that someone who knows everything that goes on under the dome suddenly missed this.” and “ for being in charge of basically everything political in the state he sure doesn’t know a lot.”
That’s the problem with y’all. You believe the myth that Madigan is this all powerful all knowing being, like God. He isn’t God. He’s just a man.
- Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Jan 9, 20 @ 9:04 am: