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.