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Sen. Steans calls on Madigan to resign

Tuesday, Jul 28, 2020

* Press release…

The people of Illinois are facing unprecedented challenges — from the coronavirus threatening our health, our economy and the education of our children to overdue demands for a more just and equitable society. At such a time, it is imperative that the people of our state can trust in their representatives and that those representatives can trust in their leaders. That is why Michael Madigan should resign as Speaker of the House.

The revelations contained in the U.S. Attorney’s deferred prosecution agreement with Commonwealth Edison paint a sordid picture of bribery, influence peddling and insider-dealing at the highest levels. It shows how yesterday’s political patronage system, severely restricted by the courts, has been transferred lock, stock and barrel to a large corporation seeking the government’s help.

Not only does this undermine public trust in government, but it will cost Illinois ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars. This follows on the heels of horrendous revelations of sexual harassment and bullying by those within the Speaker’s Office. It is clearly time for a change.

Some will argue that the Speaker is innocent until charges are filed and he’s proven guilty. But those are not the standards that should apply to his leadership role. Serving as Speaker is not a right; it’s a privilege. A leader’s actions must avoid even the perception of wrongdoing. Speaker Madigan repeatedly has violated that trust.

For the same reason, Michael Madigan should step down as chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois. We are in the midst of the most important campaign of our lifetime — to remove a President who routinely violates our Constitution and our trust. In contrast, Democrats must offer voters a level of trust and accountability that Chairman Madigan can no longer provide.

Speaker Madigan’s continued service in the legislature and on the Democratic State Central Committee are matters for his constituents to decide. The many ethical questions swirling around him, however, should disqualify him from legislative or party leadership posts.

The problems in Illinois government go far beyond Speaker Madigan, although he has come to personify the elevation of power and privilege over the needs and concerns of the public. We must enact tough ethics reforms to help ensure that a change in House leadership brings with it the overhaul of a broken system. No longer can we allow it to promote the interests of powerful insiders over those of the people and communities our government is supposed to serve.

I pledge to continue fighting for such reforms with likeminded colleagues who are demanding both a change in unethical leadership and serious reform of a system that has tolerated it for far too long.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

51 Comments »
  1. - Anon - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 9:36 am:

    I don’t think she read the agreement. This money can’t come from the taxpayers, and comed will be monitored to make sure that doesn’t happen, and if it does, they’ll face stiffer penalties.


  2. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 9:39 am:

    ===can’t come from the taxpayers===

    I assume you meant ratepayers. The money comes from profits. Where do you think those profits come from?


  3. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 9:41 am:

    Madigan should step down from leadership roles at the very least. It’s arrogance that often does people in. He should just retire while he and his party are on top, with supermajorities. The party needs to be reshaped away from ancient Chicago Machine politics. Last year was great as far as policy accomplishments. Focus on making people’s lives better.


  4. - Upon Further Review - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 9:42 am:

    Com Ed is better at cooking the books than that Anon. The $$$$ always comes from the rate payers, or some sweetheart deal with a governmental entity.


  5. - Downstate - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 9:47 am:

    Madigan should step aside during this investigation, at the very least. If anyone else in the House Dem caucus faced such a legal challenge, he or she would have been asked/forced to step down. Come on.


  6. - illinoyed - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 9:49 am:

    Please more of this, if dems don’t pressure Madigan to resign he’ll take them/us down with him.


  7. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 9:53 am:

    I don’t think this is from her by accident, or bravery. I think it is because she is insulated as she is her own money machine. So who else close to her is in support of this? that will give us a real indication of how deep the sentiment goes.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 9:54 am:

    === Some will argue that the Speaker is innocent until charges are filed and he’s proven guilty.===

    Replace “and” with “or”, that’s a far stronger argument than the narrowing of what predicates a resignation. The “and” puts fewer in the camp of the call Ms. Steans is making.

    This is probably why;

    === But those are not the standards that should apply to his leadership role.===

    Ms. Steans is setting *her* standard that those only seeing indictment AND conviction are putting standards she sees as unacceptable, the Arroyo Rule is being dismissed, even as the Speaker, “himself”, saw that rule of indictment as the benchmark. Truly fascinating the words and simplicity to the complicated.

    ===Serving as Speaker is not a right; it’s a privilege. A leader’s actions must avoid even the perception of wrongdoing. Speaker Madigan repeatedly has violated that trust.===

    By choosing to isolate with the *and* and that grab above, even before indictment a resignation is warranted.

    Full disclosure, as stated now often I *think* Speaker Madigan should resign, I also feel the best political play is let the House’s own rules dictate and indictment is well beyond giving doubt, but here, by Ms. Steans benchmarks and isolation of *and* and not choosing *or*, the bar now is even higher to perception of impropriety, it could be argued anytime your name is in a criminal complaint, resignation is warranted, and I may agree, but having a stricter standard than indictment, which prosecutors say at the end of indictments “all persons are presumed innocent” and such, it will be interesting to a member of the Senate looking at House benchmarks and say “not good enough”… and it begins with an “and” over an “or” to isolate and ignore the Arroyo Rule.


  9. - Shytown - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 9:59 am:

    Back to the post…shouldn’t we hold leadership to higher standards beyond whether or not they are actually guilty of engaging in a bribery scheme as Steans suggests? Isn’t it also painfully clear that his closest advisors and office are involved at the highest levels here, even if he never had direct knowledge of these crimes? And in this current political and social climate that’s on the heels of Me Too, especially with white men leading the house and senate, the bar should be set very high for leadership because it starts at the top. It should also be noted that it’s women in the legislature leading the charge to call for his resignation, starting with Bush, mostly women from the house and now Steans. What does that also tell us?


  10. - Rod - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:00 am:

    Senator Steans showed some courage in asking for the Speaker to give up his position immediately. Up to now most Democrats in the GA have made it sort of a resignation based on at least an indictment, if not a conviction or guilty plea (hard to imagine that happening). But Senator Steans really is not economically dependent on her seat in the least and does not have to be watching out for her future in the party.


  11. - radio flyer - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:01 am:

    Bravo to Heather Steans. Who is known to be VERY close to JB Pritzker. A sign of where Mr. Gov might be heading soon? Perhaps he fears the cloud of Madigan will tank the Fair Tax vote.


  12. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:01 am:

    Senator Steans is a profile in courage because she comes from an extremely wealthy family and does not need Madigan’s money.

    There will continue to be crickets from the rest of the Democrats


  13. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:02 am:

    He is crippled politically. Every dollar he gives or takes is tainted, as are the recipients of his cash and political support. He should step down as Speaker and Party Chair to limit the damage to the rest of his caucus and party.

    He should step aside not because he’s guilty of anything, but because he can no longer be effective in his current role. He knows this too.


  14. - surge voter - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:06 am:

    OW
    Steans is asking Madigan to step down from Speakership and Party Chair. Your focus on the sentence structure is irrelevant.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:08 am:

    === Your focus on the sentence structure is…===

    … showing the Arroyo Rule is first wholly ignored, than dismissed.

    It’s a fascinating way to look at “two sides”, when there’s another benchmark Ms. Steans is willing to ignore.

    Words matter.


  16. - radio flyer - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:10 am:

    ===Senator Steans is a profile in courage because she comes from an extremely wealthy family and does not need Madigan’s money.===

    I’ve heard a rumor that JB Pritzker has some money. He may even be willing to donate some to legislative races. Has anyone else heard that rumor?


  17. - Palatine Beer - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:11 am:

    Any comment from the great Christian Mitchell?


  18. - Selfie - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:14 am:

    This is her benchmark for Madigan only. Otherwise she would have to be calling for the resignation of the Governor with his property tax issues, Kim Foxxx and her role in the Smulett case, her indicted colleague still holding a seat, etc.


  19. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:16 am:

    ===This is her benchmark for Madigan only. Otherwise she would have to be calling for the resignation of ===

    LOLOL

    “deferred prosecution agreement with Commonwealth Edison paint a sordid picture of bribery, influence peddling and insider-dealing at the highest levels”

    Go soak your head.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:17 am:

    === her indicted colleague still holding a seat===

    I, too, have googled to find such a statement about a current colleague who is under indictment, in the chamber she serves.

    I may have missed it, I’ll keep looking.


  21. - surge voter - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:22 am:

    ow
    that colleague in her chamber was asked to step down from the committee he chaired. Same as what Steans is asking now.Madigan would still keep his seat.


  22. - Annoyed - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:29 am:

    He should step down when the USA actually can prove in a court that crimes were committed by an actual person…and not a make-believe one like Mr. ComEd.


  23. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:33 am:

    - surge voter -

    As I read… “here”

    === Speaker Madigan’s continued service in the legislature and on the Democratic State Central Committee are matters for his constituents to decide. The many ethical questions swirling around him, however, should disqualify him from legislative or party leadership posts.===

    That’s up to the House Chamber, of 118 members, to decide.

    If Ms. Steans would like to go be a member of the House…

    To the head of the party…

    I’m not a Democrat, that’s up to party leadership and rank and file members to decide.

    Again, I’m not saying she’s at all wrong, I’ve stated I *think* Madigan should resign, I’m just fascinated by the way it’s written.


  24. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:33 am:

    ===even as the Speaker, “himself”, saw that rule of indictment as the benchmark===

    Yeah, well that’s him. She’s not him. And he’s obviously in a world of hurt.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:35 am:

    === And he’s obviously in a world of hurt.===

    And also hurting Dems in both chambers, and Dems in the state as a whole.


  26. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:38 am:

    ===And also hurting Dems in both chambers, and Dems in the state as a whole.===

    ^^^^This.


  27. - wendy - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:53 am:

    Oswego Willy: Yes, words do matter. If it is “Speaker Madigan,” then it is “Senator Steans.”


  28. - Truth Hurts - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:54 am:

    I think it’s very convenient that members of the “Upper Chamber” feel the need to tell members of the House what to do. Bush is the queen of it, and yet, when there’s trouble in her own chamber she’s painfully quiet. The silence is deafening from Steans and Bush calling for Tom Cullerton who’s actually been accused of a crime to resign. I also don’t remember much clamoring with their former colleague Sandoval. If you’re going to be sanctimonious, at least be consistent.


  29. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 10:57 am:

    - wendy -

    My apologies.


  30. - Throwback Tuesday - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 11:03 am:

    “You didn’t have to direct those actions. This is how it works. This is what happens. People close to you take care of things…”


  31. - Jim Bob - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 11:05 am:

    Regarding Rich’s comment at 9:39 AM

    The takeaway point is that this $200 MM payment to the US Treasury will not cause incremental rates charged to ComEd ratepayers. Normally ComEd tells the ICC their expenses for a given year were $X and then (after some legal back-and-forth) ComEd is authorized to charge $X in total expected revenue from ratepayers. This $200 MM will not be included in the $X. The $200MM payment will reduce ComEd’s profit.

    (I’m not trying to make a pro-ComEd comment; just clearing something up.)


  32. - wendy - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 11:18 am:

    Oswego Willie: Thank you, but there is no need to apologize to me. We all mess up. I rarely comment here, but I read CapFax almost daily. I know you understand the problem in using language to demean women, or minimize their importance. I don’t remember your having done this before, and I am sure you won’t again.


  33. - Nonsense - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 11:22 am:

    Can we stop the ” resign if found guilty ” nonsense. I believe state law mandates he be removed automatically if found guilty of a felony..therefore there is no question if he should resign or not.


  34. - 10th Ward - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 11:26 am:

    @Palatine Beer–CM is either sparing at a boxing gym or taking anger management courses ;-)


  35. - Boone's is Back - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 11:36 am:

    A real act of courage in her district. /s


  36. - TNR - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 11:47 am:

    Most of the pressure on Madigan has and will continue to come from women legislators. Obviously, it’s more significant when it comes from House members, but both Steans and Melinda Bush have given it a nudge. The drumbeat certainly helps Kelly Cassidy, whom Steans is close to.


  37. - Moderate Mike - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 11:56 am:

    Melinda Bush called for Madigan to step down last week, and she’s no millionaire. Money has nothing to do with it. There’s a movement building among legislators with courage in the General Assembly. The rest of the Democratic Party would do well to get on board.


  38. - Eloy - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 11:57 am:

    @47 has it right. The questions aren’t should he/shouldn’t he, will he/ won’t he. They’re can he/can’t he.


  39. - Veil of Ignorance - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 12:15 pm:

    Given the #MeToo problems coming from his close staff and allies last year and this, I think Steans makes a sound argument that the Speaker’s leadership has fallen short and is a distraction. I hope House Dems have an idea what comes next though as if folks though the Senate Dem race had drama…


  40. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 12:20 pm:

    Thank you to Senator Steans for taking a strong and outspoken stance on the issue.

    OW, you do certainly have a point in your criticism but I do think that language was intended to make it clear that “we have enough to demand that Madigan resign as speaker of the house.”

    While the Arroyo Rule is resignation at indictment, Senator Steans is proposing a new standard. Resignation from leadership post at implication in someone else’s conviction or settlement. I think focusing on the semantics of her statement might be missing the forest for some moss on a tree.

    Especially since at my first reading I considered the statement to be an admonishment of her colleagues for imposing such a high standard to be met before holding the Speaker accountable.


  41. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 12:22 pm:

    === proposing a new standard. Resignation from leadership post at implication in someone else’s conviction or settlement. I think focusing on the semantics of her statement might be missing the forest for some moss on a tree.===

    She should run for a House seat and then rectify it as a member of the chamber and the caucus.


  42. - Annoyed - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 12:35 pm:

    Didn’t the Senator get implicated in some nursing home wrong-doing pre-Rauner? Under the “perception of wrongdoing” standard she advocates, wouldn’t resignation be in order?


  43. - Candy Dogood - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 12:45 pm:

    ===She should run for a House seat and then rectify it as a member of the chamber and the caucus===

    While that is the most accurate way to have a say in who the Speaker is, that might be made more difficult by some of the house members who seem to be approaching this situation as if they may have as yet undisturbed poorly marked graves in their backyards.


  44. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 1:03 pm:

    ===… that might be made more difficult by some of the house members who seem to be approaching this situation as if they may have as yet undisturbed poorly marked graves in their backyards.===

    Then maybe in that instance of a leadership question she should focus on the chamber where she sits and let the House Dems decide how they will do things on the governing side.

    According to Rich’s own column, there seems to be a “lack of 60” within the caucus, with 15 already outwardly stating their positions.

    She can run for the House and help the 15.


  45. - Soccermom - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 1:20 pm:

    Is it possible that Steans is coming out with this statement to let folks in the House know they can ask her for $$ if they come out against the Speaker?


  46. - AD - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 1:26 pm:

    Honestly don’t really care if Senator Steans is in the Senate instead of the House. She is a citizen of this state and has every right to have an opinion on this matter just like the other 13 million people here.


  47. - Ostomie Wedgie - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 1:49 pm:

    Speaker Madigan has been unwavering in his call for a myriad of politicians to step down for even appearing to have engaged in unethical or illegal activities. Its time for him to be held to the same standard. We need leaders to stand up and bodly move to retire Mike Madigan.


  48. - The Old Man - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 1:49 pm:

    The democratic party needs gutsy leaders like the Senator.


  49. - It's Time - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 2:39 pm:

    I’m with TOM - we need more people speaking out. Thank you, Senator Steans!


  50. - anon - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 3:50 pm:

    Not sure this ComEd matter will force the Speaker out of office, but it might make an eventual Capitol complex statue of him a long shot.


  51. - Arock - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 9:30 pm:

    Excellent statement from the Senator and any politician with an ounce of ethics should voice the same thing first thing tomorrow morning. Then the Governor should call a special session to address the issue and the members should call for a vote for his removal as Speaker if he fails to resign.


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