* 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?