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Madigan tried (and mostly failed) to help Madigan loyalist get state jobs

Monday, Sep 28, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller


Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan tried to get state jobs last year for a half-dozen people with close ties to the chairman of a new, special House committee investigating Madigan’s links to a Springfield bribery scandal, according to records obtained by WBEZ.

State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside is the chairman of the bipartisan panel, which is scheduled to meet for the second time on Tuesday to begin hearing testimony.

Welch’s relationship to Madigan has come under heavy scrutiny since he was named on Sept. 2 to lead the “Special Investigative Committee” looking into the federal corruption scandal. Illinois Republicans have accused Welch of inhibiting the probe to protect Madigan, who also chairs the state’s Democratic Party.

I mean, he’s chairman of the House Executive Committee. You don’t get that job if you’re even a little bit on the fence about the House Speaker. He also heaped loads of public praise on Madigan during the House Speaker’s last reelection

Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-Westchester) nominated Madigan, saying he was a great leader who listens to the people.

“That’s the most important quality a leader should have,” Welch said. “Watching Speaker Madigan these last four years has been a real case study in true leadership.”

Welch said with Madigan’s leadership, the House stood strong and protected the heart of Illinois.

There’s no question where Welch stands. It’s not like he makes any bones about it

Following the recent scandal that appears to implicate Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, a group of Illinois Democrats announced sweeping ethics reform proposals [last month]. […]

Illinois Rep. Chris Welch said he agrees with many of the proposals, but not the one calling to remove leaders unless proven guilty.

“We’re not sitting here playing judge and jury..that we have fair processes in place and that we don’t put in systems that’s going to create witch hunts,” he said.

Madigan clearly decided that he wanted loyalists on the investigative committee. There’s not a bit of daylight between himself and those three members. The same basically goes for the Republican members and their leader.

* Back to the story

But Welch may be even closer to Madigan than most in the House Democratic caucus, judging by the job recommendations and resumes that the speaker’s chief of staff sent to Gov. JB Pritzker’s office in early 2019, shortly before the ComEd scandal burst into public view. […]

The records show Madigan recommended more people with connections to Welch than anybody else during the months after Pritzker was sworn in, when the rookie governor was looking to fill many job openings in his administration. […]

Only one of those six people with ties to Welch got what they wanted from the governor, even though 35 of the nearly 80 job seekers who appeared on Madigan’s clout lists ultimately would land on the state-government payroll or on a board.

I’d bet a dollar that Madigan passed along pretty much every recommendation from his members. According to the story, Rep. Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) was also mentioned as much as Welch was on the lists Madigan sent to the governor’s office.

Welch recommended his wife, an attorney, for an appointment to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. She didn’t get it. He also recommended his mom for a job, which she didn’t get.

* It turns out all of the people recommended by Welch were Black women. From Welch…

My entire life in elected office I have fought for diversity, equity and inclusion for Black people, especially Black women. My fight is for everyone, people I know and those that I don’t know personally. I, just like other legislators, Republicans and Democrats, recommended several well qualified Black women to the new administration in 2019 as they had requested. I had hoped all were chosen, but I am pleased that at least Dr. Andrea Evans was chosen to serve at IBHE, the only Black Woman on IBHE today. I will continue my fight to diversify boards. As Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said, Women belong in all rooms where decisions are made.

That would probably be a far better argument if two out of his six recommendations weren’t immediate family members, but OK.

Your thoughts?


  1. - Dotnonymous - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 11:50 am:

    It’s good to be Speaker.

  2. - NotRich - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 11:53 am:

    I guess I am shocked.. WBEZ did a story that a Democratic Speaker suggested Democrats to a Democratic Governor for positions in a Democratic administration..My Lord, this could be Pulitzer material

  3. - SpiDem - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 11:54 am:

    I suspect Welch is more annoyed by the new letter Lausch released today undermining his (Welch’s) interpretation of what witnesses can be asked at the hearings

  4. - fs - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 11:54 am:

    “I’m shocked, *shocked* (banned punctuation)

    Well, not that shocked”

  5. - Jake Jacobs - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 11:59 am:

    Turns out that 35 of 80 (.438) is a better average than Ty Cobb had in 1911 (.419)….

  6. - Dan Johnson - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 12:02 pm:

    I think there is something a bit corrosive about stories like this. When we are living under the most corrupt President of the century, having some of our most intrepid journalists hired to write stories like this instead of focusing on the mountain of federal corruption tends to create this false equivalence. And when there is objectionable conduct in the state, it gets lost in the fog.

    What’s the lesson? The people who know the most about state (or local) government should not try to make it better with qualified people?

    Maybe it’s because I’m still kind of reeling that the President has a $400 million personal liability (likely to foreign oligarchs) and anything that has ever happened in state government is a tiny speck of concern compared to the threat to our Republic. The false equivalence that is inferred just bothers me.

    I get it — state beats versus federal beats and everyone needs accountability. But there’s a huge storm brewing of a permanent political machine in the White House with threats to our democracy. Shouldn’t every journalist be digging into that? How come only the New York Times broke that story?

  7. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 12:04 pm:

    I am shocked to hat only 2 of the six were immediate family members. I hope the other four were cousins or in laws

  8. - 47th Ward - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 12:07 pm:

    Hundreds of guys depended on Madigan and he got a piece of everything they made. And it was tribute, just like in the 13th Ward, except they were doing it here in Springfield. And all they got from Madigan was protection from other guys looking to take their job. And that’s what it’s all about. That’s what the FBI could never understand. That what Madigan and the organization does is offer job protection for people who can’t work regular jobs. That’s it. That’s all it is. They’re like the employment department for precinct workers.

  9. - walker - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 12:08 pm:

    Bottom line, nobody, Governor included, had to hire any Madigan recommendations.

    It’s true that well-connected people might know a lot of potentially qualified candidates, and their input can be valuable — but perceptions of influence count. I don’t favor the practice among elected officials, and don’t take or make any such recommendations.

  10. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 12:08 pm:

    - 47th Ward - wins

  11. - Notorious acb - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 12:15 pm:

    It is interesting to me that pritzker’s hire of Anne Spillane, the ultimate Madigan insider, is never scrutinized.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 12:18 pm:

    See, the hardest thing was living this life. People still love this life. Committeemen, legislators, even Speakers were seen as movie stars with muscle. They had it all, just for the asking. The wives, mothers, kids, everybody rode along, everyone trying to get jobs. Anything wanted, was a phone call away. Didn’t matter, they ran everything. Everybody had their hands out. Everything was for the taking. And now it’s all over. And that’s the hardest part. Today, everything is different. There’s no action. I have to wait around like everyone else…

  13. - NotRich - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 12:19 pm:

    would someone please explain to “notorious act” who Anne Spillane is… that was today’s funniest post

  14. - Rich Miller - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 12:19 pm:

    ===the ultimate Madigan insider===


    Kass? Is that you?

  15. - Sayitaintso - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 12:19 pm:

    I’m reading 47th Ward and hearing Ray Liotta’s voice

  16. - Drake Mallard - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 12:21 pm:

    All Madigan is doing is what every committeeman does. He’s just bigger so he does more. But everybody I have ever worked with at the state is somehow connected.

  17. - Ok - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 12:23 pm:

    I mean, she is the ultimate Madigan insider. Just the wrong Madigan?

  18. - Ok - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 12:25 pm:

    Hopefully Speaker Welch has learned his lesson here for when the stakes get raised in his role in the future.

  19. - King Louis XVI - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 12:25 pm:

    –How come only the New York Times broke that story?–

    Because the leaker picked the New York Times over the Daily Herald.

  20. - Any help? - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 12:33 pm:

    Hi all - posted this comment on the open thread, but hoping it gets play here. I’m a former IL politico here who has been unplugged for a little while (save Capitol Fax reads). I’m visiting my dad who used to follow things and asked about Madigan. I’m looking for a good article that summarizes all that has been going on between Madigan and ComEd in the state that I can share with him. Any suggestions?

  21. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 12:43 pm:

    ===Your thoughts?===

    In terms of 2 out of 6 recommendations that Rep Welch made being women within his own household, it’s sort of hard to wage a finger at that when there are many white families with multi-generational connections to specific agencies and specific departments.

    Costello? Callahan? And that’s without getting into the nitty gritty of lower tiers of the work force, where again it is not unheard for an agency to appear on the resume of three generations of a family.

    Lets not invent a standard to impose on minorities who continue to be massively under represented in State Government employment, especially in exempt or appointed positions until we’ve imposed those standards on white folks.

  22. - @misterjayem - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 1:06 pm:

    While this won’t bring you all the way up to date, I think it has the background that you need to understand more recent articles:

    – MrJM

  23. - Friends & Family Program - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 1:08 pm:

    Judging from the attached story Rep. Welch knew how to find family and friends jobs, even before becoming a state rep. According to this story 19 friends and family members were given jobs when he was President of the Proviso High School District. The current story is not isolated, there is a clear pattern with him.

  24. - Nummy yummy - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 1:15 pm:

    Put a letter O inbetween the J and the B and what do you get?

  25. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 1:40 pm:

    Is the story on Durkin and Demmer coming tomorrow?

  26. - Juvenal - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 1:53 pm:

    === Your thoughts? ===

    These were Rutan-exempt jobs?

    I see nothing wrong with news organizations milking a story for all it is worth.

    But how many times are they gonna sell the same gallon of milk?

    If these were Rutan-exempt jobs, they were political appointments by definition.

    If you are going to do these type of expose’ pieces, it’s dishonest to omit that the acts you have uncovered didn’t violate any ethics rules or criminal laws.

    A simple call to anyone would have confirmed it.

    Telling one side of the story and leaving out pertinent, exculpatory facts is what campaign ads do. At this point, it seems like WBEZ is just trying to provide fodder for campaign ads, without doing any actual public policy reporting.

  27. - Arock - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 2:09 pm:

    No 47th Ward it sounds like corruption(which it is) much like the Mafia.

  28. - Arron - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 2:41 pm:

    I could hear the words, Speaker Welch.

  29. - Excitable Boy - Monday, Sep 28, 20 @ 3:07 pm:

    My thoughts? If these are Rutan Exempt positions none of this is illegal or improper.

    I’m no fan of Madigan, but he’s right when he says recommending someone for a job isn’t illegal.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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