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Republicans play the Madigan money card

Tuesday, Aug 4, 2020

* Center Square

Republican members of the Illinois Legislature are using the cloud over Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to go after those who get Madigan-connected campaign money. […]

After rattling off Democratic legislators and former legislators who have either been arrested, charged or pled guilty to corruption in the past year, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, said the Democratic Party of Illinois, or DPI, should be labeled a corrupt organization and called it Madigan Inc.

“Mike Madigan runs DPI like he runs his caucus with absolute control,” Durkin said. “A handful of his members have asked for a resignation while the majority have not and will continue to feed from the DPI trough.”

A spokesperson for the DPI called Durkin’s comments “noise.”

“We’re still trying to make sense of Leader Durkin’s comment ourselves,” DPI spokesperson Eileen Boyce said, “but one thing is certain – the Democratic Party and its leaders have fought to provide the people of our state and our country with access to healthcare, living wages, civil rights, affordable housing and clean air and water – all priorities that President Trump and former Republican Governor Bruce Rauner have worked to destroy.”

State Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, said Madigan put a lot of money against him in the last election nearly two years ago.

“I expect to have somewhere between $2 and $4 million spent against me again this cycle, it was close to $2 million last time. I’m sure they’re going to top that,” Batinick said. “We just have to reject this. It’s disgusting.”

Batinick demanded his Democratic opponent Harry Benton denounce what Batinick called Madigan’s “ill-gotten gains.” Benton couldn’t be reached for comment.


“All these candidates that say they’re going to fight corruption have actually made an agreement that they’re going to vote for him for speaker. We need to fight corruption, fight Mike Madigan, return the tainted funds,” Batinick said during a Zoom press conference Monday.

Political scientist and campaign finance expert Kent Redfield said it’s not that explicit a quid pro quo, but campaign contributions do engender loyalty, and that has helped to keep Madigan in charge of both the House and the Democratic Party of Illinois.

“Campaign contributions create relationships and they create understandings. People have an allegiance to the speaker and they understand that the speaker controls the process,” Redfield said. “The speaker is interested in someone voting for the House rules … and he wants the person to vote for him as speaker. But the speaker remains speaker by keeping his members happy, getting them reelected.”

Redfield said Republican efforts to tie their Democratic opponents to Madigan may be effective, especially with voters in suburban districts that could easily flip party control.

But Madigan is only part of the equation that could impact who wins or loses close races such as those in the 47th and 97th suburban districts.

“Is it effective? Sure. If you are in a suburban race then that can be an issue that you can run against a Democrat that this person will not be independent, they will take orders from the speaker,” Redfield said. “But Donald Trump is going to be on a ballot in the suburbs and all of that’s going to have an impact on turnout. Are you going to get more people to turn out against Donald Trump? You know, is that going to energize turnout? Or are you going to energize turnout against Mike Madigan?”

This will likely be the most nationalized campaign in many a year. And it takes money to overcome something like that, which the HGOPs don’t yet have. But, hey, they gotta keep swinging if they hope to make any progress.


Governor JB Pritzker yesterday said he would not provide any new contributions to campaign committees controlled by House Speaker Michael Madigan. But Pritzker didn’t comment on the $10 million he has already contributed to Madigan-controlled committees.

Will Pritzker ask Madigan to return the $10 million?

Also, will Pritzker call on all Illinois Democrats to reject any contributions from Madigan-controlled committees?

Pritzker will be in Southern Illinois this morning. Will he ask 116th State Rep. Nathan Reitz to return and reject contributions from Madigan too?

Will Reitz himself return the money already given to him by Madigan and reject any future money from Speaker controlled funds?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 9:41 am:

    === This will likely be the most nationalized campaign in many a year. And it takes money to overcome something like that, which the HGOPs don’t yet have. But, hey, they gotta keep swinging if they hope to make any progress.===

    Ball game.

    Until the Raunerites can show they can put 3 nickels together that will work against the Trumpkin headwinds, all they can really try to do make some noise…

    … during a global pandemic, record unemployment, businesses closing, house facing foreclosure, people losing their apartments.

    “But, hey, they gotta keep swinging if they hope to make any progress.”

    That’s the plan, it appears.

  2. - The Real Captain - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 9:42 am:

    How do you return an inkind contribution? This has always made me wonder. Did Durkin ever give back his inkind donations from Lee Daniels … someone who was actually indicted?

  3. - Socially DIstant watcher - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 9:45 am:

    This is a money issue: the Republicans are badly outfunded and need to tie the Dem money advantage to a rock and hope it sinks. That’s why they speak of “Madigan controlled committees,” to try to taint all the cash that any Democrat gives to the party. It’s decently well composed messaging, but whether the public will buy it remains to be seen.

  4. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 9:48 am:

    You gotta go with what you’ve got, and this is pretty down the middle, common sense stuff compared to the culture wars stuff we see too often from them. Still, the hole is too deep to get out of this cycle, and maybe ever, but you have to start climbing sometime.

  5. - GOP Truth Squad - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 9:49 am:

    Lee Daniels was never indicted.

  6. - the Patriot - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 9:52 am:

    It goes back to the first question of whether he still considers Madigan an ally. Madigan took Pritzker because he could not only self fund, he could fund the party with looming harassment questions. JB is going to just bail out Madigan by making the payments to the legislators for him this go round. In exchange they will promote his fair tax.

    Bait and swtich, or as it was once said, Lather, rinse, repeat.

  7. - Arock - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 10:00 am:

    Any contribution to a party with Michael Madiagan as its head has to be seen as tainted and only reinforces the notion that money offered in politics gets you something in return. Which is quite evidently a proven point when it come to Michael Madigan (King of corruption in Illinois).

  8. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 10:03 am:

    ===In exchange they will promote his fair tax===


    You spend too much time on the Tribune editorial page. They *voted* for it. Why would they need to be paid to advocate for it?

  9. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 10:03 am:

    ===King of corruption in Illinois===

    Got a t-shirt for that?

    What new voters are you going to sway?

  10. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 10:07 am:

    Still no platform by the ILGOP, just attacking Madigan. Does this party do anything but attack opponents? Where are the policy proposals and plans for voters? If they run on corruption, again, they have Trump and his corruption, and his failure to manage a pandemic.

    Madigan is a drug to the ILGOP that they keep taking so that they don’t have to face the reality that they have unpopular positions on issues. What else can explain the obsession and years of failed attacks? This party needs rehab.

  11. - The Real Captain - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 10:08 am:

    That’s right truth squad his employees did it without his knowledge … yet, he had no knowledge.

  12. - Gooner - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 10:26 am:

    What is interesting is that literally the same Reps complaining about Madigan cash themselves took ComEd cash.

    Tom Morrison, who reps my area of Arlington Heights, is a great example. He is constantly screaming abotut Madigan, but he admits he received money from ComEd and he refuses to return it.

    Either tainted money is bad or it isn’t.

    They need to pick a side.

  13. - Fighter of Foo - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 10:31 am:

    With the cracks in the Dem party for Madigan why not wait and let the drip..drip.. ? Then pound the contributions that all of the Dems took from him? Especially the ones against him now? Why get in the way of self destruction?

  14. - Frank talks - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 10:35 am:

    I would think Madigan, at this point, has to pay rent for how long and how much space he’s occupied in Republican heads for decades.

    You need a platform that moves away from Trump if you have any shot in the suburbs. Allowing the no mask brigade to dictate your party platform isn’t helping. Kids can’t go to college because the pandemic still going. Senior year is lost because the pandemic still going. Childcare is risky at best because pandemic still going. Economy crashing, jobs disappearing pandemic still going. Now add in choice rights of women being striped, equality protections taken away, children and moms protesting in the streets.

    Keep telling yourself Madiganitis will sway voters. Madigan isn’t top of ticket. Top of ticket drives the vote.

  15. - flea - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 11:06 am:

    With all due respect whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty. The Speaker likely did not do whatever is spinning around in heads.

  16. - the Patriot - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 11:19 am:

    ==Why would they need to be paid to==

    Still needs to pass in November and local advocates helps. Is he really just going to spend $50 million on Facebook ads? JB won’t do public appearances so how does he push it. And no, scripted appearances where you control the crowd and media like he is doing today, is not a public appearance.

    =innocent until proven guilty==

    Democrats have demanded Trump resign and impeached him and never got close to a partner paying $200 million and agreeing happened.

  17. - Annonin' - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 11:26 am:

    Many think Batnick and the other GOPie deep thinkers will need to produce completed early vote ballots AGAINST Trump to survive.
    BTW for those scoring at home this will be the 21st consecutive cycle in which GOPies have flogged the Madigan money mantra

  18. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 11:31 am:

    ===Democrats have demanded Trump resign===

    Let’s not bring national politics into this because it really undercuts your argument. OK?

  19. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 11:58 am:

    Dear Rep Durkin and ILGOP- Is now the time to lock and load? Asking for a friend.

    MJM needs to go, but really…glass houses here folks.

  20. - the Patriot - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 12:01 pm:

    Agreed…How much quarter did Dems give Lee Daniels.

    I think you probably have Madigan’s quotes.

  21. - Andy - Tuesday, Aug 4, 20 @ 5:28 pm:

    ===Democrats have demanded Trump resign===

    Let’s not bring national politics into this because it really undercuts your argument. OK?


    He isn’t wrong though…? It doesn’t de-legitimatize his point. At the end of the day both are about party politics. Repubs in Congress stuck with Trump, and now Dems here in IL are still sticking with Madigan.

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