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Madigan resignation coverage roundup

Friday, Feb 19, 2021

* Most of the coverage focused on yesterday’s press releases and well-known references to the past. I figure we’ll see more retrospectives in the coming days, but here’s Brenden Moore

Lawmakers and political observers in downstate Illinois say his first focus was ultimately Chicago, but that Madigan also had a statewide lens that he used to both pass policies that helped areas outside the city and to elect Democrats from those areas.

“He understood that for Democrats to be a vibrant force in Springfield, they needed to have some power outside of Chicago,” said John Shaw, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. “So I do think that he worked to advance the statewide agenda, and not just the Chicago exclusive agenda.” […]

But there are almost no Democrats left who represent mostly rural, conservative constituencies, a stark change from the early days of Madigan’s House tenure, when his best friend, the now-indicted Mike McLean, was a Democrat from Quincy. And Jim McPike, a Democrat from Alton, was his majority leader from 1983 to 1995.

Yet, just as the elder Daley — Madigan’s political mentor — worked with the opposite political party, Madigan “was willing to work with downstate Republican governors like (Jim) Edgar and George Ryan,” Shaw said.

Edgar, a native of Coles County who was the state’s moderate Republican governor from 1991 to 1999, said that “downstate probably did better off of Madigan’s speakership than they might have thought.”

* Tribune

Even as he battled to maintain his grip on the speaker’s gavel, Madigan remained a prodigious fundraiser, bringing in more than $6 million in contributions to his Friends of Michael J. Madigan campaign fund in the final three months of 2020.

Altogether, the four funds under his control, which also include the 13th Ward Democratic Organization, the Democratic Party of Illinois and Democratic Majority, ended 2020 with more than $18.8 million in the bank.

Madigan’s main campaign fund continued to cover his legal fees related to the ongoing federal investigation, paying more than $1 million to law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman in the final three months of 2020, according to state campaign finance records. In all, his campaign fund paid Katten more than $1.7 million in legal fees last year.

State campaign finance law allows Madigan to continue covering legal expenses out of his campaign fund regardless of whether he remains in office.

* Mark Brown

Michael J. Madigan, never one to tell anybody outside the family what he’s thinking, let us in Thursday on a surprising secret.

Not that he was resigning the Southwest Side legislative seat he has held for 50 years. No, that’s been expected since he was supplanted as House speaker last month.

The surprise was to learn that Madigan cares what the public thinks about him.

In a carefully crafted announcement laying out his accomplishments in office, the oft-maligned Democratic politician took a belated stab at reshaping his tarnished legacy.

Where many of us saw a career chiefly characterized by the shrewd accumulation and exercise of power, Madigan now asks us to see a life of public service dedicated to improving “the lives of the most vulnerable” and helping “hardworking people build a good life.”

* Related…

* PHOTOS: The career of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan

* Longtime Illinois House Speaker Madigan resigns seat in legislature

* Madigan resigns state House seat ‘at peace with my decision’ — and with power to handpick his successor

* Michael Madigan resigns from Illinois House after being ousted as speaker, defends his legacy in face of ‘vicious attacks’

* Former Speaker Michael Madigan Resigns From Illinois House Seat After 50 Years in Office

* After 50 years in Illinois House, 36 years ruling it, Mike Madigan is quitting

* Many Think Speaker Mike Madigan’s Resignation From Illinois House Was Inevitable

* Local lawmakers react to Rep. Madigan’s resignation from Illinois House

* Mike Madigan resigns after 50 years in post as IL House Speaker, state representative

- Posted by Rich Miller        

20 Comments »
  1. - FranklinCounty - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 10:22 am:

    Spending $2 million in legal fees is surely something an innocent man would need to do, right?


  2. - Lt Guv - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 10:23 am:

    ==Spending $2 million in legal fees is surely something an innocent man would need to do, right?==
    If you’re innocent and have the means - absolutely. If you’re guilty and have the means - absolutely.


  3. - Lt Guv - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 10:29 am:

    I can’t believe it. In the photos from the Herald&Review (1st link) there’s a photo of MJM using a cell phone last year during session at the BOS. That’s a Pulitzer kind of shot.


  4. - Arsenal - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 10:34 am:

    ==Spending $2 million in legal fees is surely something an innocent man would need to do, right? ==

    Very possibly so.


  5. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 10:37 am:

    –Spending $2 million in legal fees is surely something an innocent man would need to do, right?–

    My first trial as a lawyer was working for a man we ultimately proved not guilty of federal charges. That was 20 years ago, it took three years, and the cost was north of that.


  6. - lake county democrat - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 10:37 am:

    From Brown: “Madigan was always totally blind to the questionable ethics of a high-ranking public official such as himself getting rich as a lawyer representing major property owners seeking reductions in their real estate taxes.”

    And Illinois citizens were so beaten down by all the corruption in this state over the years that eventually we pretty much shrugged at it.


  7. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 10:40 am:

    ===were so beaten down===

    Drama much?


  8. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 10:41 am:

    Franklin county-

    So, and understand I’m simply trying to find some solid ground in your swamp of reasoning, if you can’t afford legal fees, you should be innocent?


  9. - FranklinCounty - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 10:49 am:

    ==if you can’t afford legal fees, you should be innocent==

    Um… What? Lol… Stop before you hurt yourself.


  10. - Anyone Remember - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 10:52 am:

    Mike McLean? Apparently Rupert Murdoch isn’t the only way who laid off fact checkers …


  11. - lake county democrat - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 10:55 am:

    You may disagree but I don’t think so: I think Illinois residents are numb to the kind of government ethics questions that would be a big deal elsewhere.


  12. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 11:00 am:

    Franklin county-

    You’re the one who shared their “thought” that anyone who has money to defend themselves is guilty.

    If you can’t back that up with anymore “rationale” don’t be surprised when you get called on it.

    By the by, I won’t be getting hurt.


  13. - Trulia - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 11:26 am:

    Madigan’s departure is huge, to be sure.

    But separating the Illinois Democrat Chair from the Speaker’s position is most promising. MJM’s ability to punish an independent legislator, in so many different ways, was a guillotine to good government.


  14. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 11:31 am:

    Woke up today and didn’t see any Madigan indictment (yet). One or two speculated yesterday that Madigan resigned due to an impending indictment.

    In terms of the ComEd scandal, Democrats forced Madigan out of the Speakership. The other party did not support impeachment of the former president or any other punitive action. Not only does the GOP support the former president, the party elevated him with the best presidents by photoshopping his image in Mt. Rushmore. In this light many Madigan opponents have no place to judge him.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 11:48 am:

    === I think Illinois residents are numb to the kind of government ethics questions that would be a big deal elsewhere.===

    Really? Example?

    I’d be more inclined to say Illinois electeds seem to lack a learning to stop, not that folks are numb to things of questioned ethics.

    It’s the Kassian “Combine” trope sold as “unbelievably accepted” and folks need to “wake up”

    … yet, these ethically challenged still win, not only here but other states too.


  16. - Pundent - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 11:51 am:

    =In this light many Madigan opponents have no place to judge him.=

    There’s a further argument that the gravity of the conduct is also quite different. That’s not to suggest that corruption should be tolerated at any level of the government. It is to point out the significance of encouraging and inciting individuals to violently overthrow our constitutional form of government and actively working to disenfranchise millions of voters.


  17. - Lincoln Lad - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 11:51 am:

    Ever been on the wrong side of MJM? It left a mark for sure… Hardly a saint, hardly saint-like. I for one (of many), are glad to see him gone.


  18. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 12:19 pm:

    === It left a mark for sure===

    Yep. I got scars to prove it. lol


  19. - low level - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 12:32 pm:

    ==Numb to corruption==

    That’s why George Ryan didn’t run for a 2nd term, right? Or the large drop off in Blago’a vote totals and vote for Green Party candidate?

    Clearly Illinois voters are sensitive to corruption.


  20. - Lt Guv - Friday, Feb 19, 21 @ 2:10 pm:

    Exactly. I was one of those D’s who attended Blago’s 1st inauguration and by the time of the 2nd I knew he was corrupt to the core and voted Green. Lake Co., your premise is misguided. There is a partisan difference - see Trump.


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