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Will Madigan’s #MeToo moment pass? Or is it different this time?

Thursday, Mar 8, 2018

* Maureen McKinney has a long and very good story about Speaker Madigan’s #MeToo problems. She talked to people who you don’t normally see interviewed, including the Sun-Times’ Mark Brown

“I think it could take him down. This is where it could happen,” he says. “He has a certain way of responding to crises which are sort of taken from the old Richard J. Daley playbook, where you move in and you cut off the wound and you name a committee or a panel to investigate how things could do better and basically you just try to wait for things to blow over. And normally they do, but (because of) this #MeToo movement, these sexual harassment complaints, and … the idea that somehow, he did not handle them forthrightly,” the once inconceivable could happen.

* Tribune political writer Rick Pearson

The #MeToo movement “just goes beyond kind of some of the conventional political issues that can create turmoil and friction within a political party, and frankly it’s bigger than a political party. It’s bigger than politics.” […]

Pearson says he doesn’t foresee Madigan leaving the speaker spot. “Even among the members who don’t like the way that this whole issue of sexual harassment has been handled in the political operation, I think even among them you’re not really hearing them say that he ought to step down as speaker. I think they’re very carefully trying to bifurcate the two, and then refer only to the political apparatus, and not the speakership.”

But some believe he’s been around too long and it’s time for some new blood, Pearson says. “That having been said, there’s a comfort level among those members, among the rank-and-file of having Mike Madigan as speaker.”

* You should go read the whole thing, but she also asked Steve Brown about Madigan’s earlier statement that he wasn’t going to resign

“It ain’t gonna happen,'’ says Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown, clarifying that his boss has no plans to give up his positions of speaker and party chair.

* Related…

* Illinois House takes up ban on sex-harassment payouts: The AP’s FOIA request in December sought documents that detailed any complaints in the past decade against lawmakers, who those legislators were, any that were settled with monetary payments and the amount of the settlements, and any additional information. The Senate said it had no records in response to the request. The FOIA officer for the House said the AP would have to identify individual cases, noting that the FOIA does not require public officials to “interpret” documents to determine whether they’re applicable to a request. The officer added that the chamber had no documents about “any records of payments made to resolve or settle” misconduct allegations. The House representative cited a FOIA exemption for requests that are “unduly burdensome” on a public body in responding to a request for correspondence and other documents related to allegations of misconduct.

* Women say #metoo will be heard at polling place, too: Degnen, running in the 12th District, said she’s seeing a “chilling effect with physical interaction,” since the movement began. She’s now asked, “can I hug you?” “Even when I was the deputy director of the Medical Cannabis Pilot program and I would go out on an inspection, people would just come up after the inspection and feel like they could hug me. And I would say I’m here on a professional capacity, a handshake will do,” Degnen said. “I will say that definitely since the #metoo movement, I’d say there’s a chilling effect on any kind of physical interaction.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 12:27 pm:

    —..frankly it’s bigger than a political party. It’s bigger than politics.” […]–

    That’s my view.

    It’s a long way to a new election for speaker. But I’d be very surprised if there’s not a new party chair after the primary.

    What good does it do any Dem candidates for Madigan to remain as party chair?


  2. - Perrid - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 12:28 pm:

    I’m still not convinced he did anything wrong, but that matters very little in the court of public opinion. If that makes me part of the problem, whatever. There are other people who want anyone with any allegations against them to never have any job anywhere, which is obviously stupid. And I wish I was making that up, that it was a straw man fallacy, but nope, there are legitimately people that think that. Heck, today we heard about how Rita, who was acquitted for better or worse, is still being hit 15 years later.


  3. - Just Me - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 12:34 pm:

    Just a reminder. Sexual harassment in the Madigan world includes his family, and the expenditure of taxpayer funds for settlements.

    https://capitolfax.com/2013/12/11/the-mystery-deepens-with-resignation/


  4. - George - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 12:35 pm:

    “What good does it do any Dem candidates for Madigan to remain as party chair?”

    And put who in charge? Who is going to be able to do a better job for the party than Madigan? Isn’t Rauner’s big gripe that Madigan wins elections and then stops Rauner’s agenda? So why would the Dems take out their biggest weapon?


  5. - PJ - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 12:38 pm:

    ==So why would the Dems take out their biggest weapon?==

    Biggest weapon if what you care about is keeping control of the House with robot members blissfully free of autonomy. If you want any sort of focus on the Senate, Congress, or autonomous legislators, a new party chairman might be nice.


  6. - Louis Capricious - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 12:46 pm:

    “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job.”

    Seems more than apt.


  7. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 12:50 pm:

    I agree with wordslinger about #MeToo and would like to add that DPI has to have a modern messaging apparatus. It’s utterly inexcusable today to not have this. Since the old canine can’t and won’t learn new tricks, it’s time to either step aside or delegate the PR/messaging responsibilities to others.


  8. - People Over Parties - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 12:53 pm:

    So long as his tone-deaf allies keep comparing him to Eisenhower, I don’t see him leaving the state party chairmanship anytime soon.


  9. - wordslinger - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 12:54 pm:

    – So why would the Dems take out their biggest weapon?–

    Please. Their “biggest weapon” has worse approval numbers statewide than Rauner or Trump.


  10. - don the legend - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 12:56 pm:

    Way more often than not movements do die down. Occupy Wall Street comes to mind. Tea Party isn’t what it started out to be.

    #metoo definitely feels different but we are a comfortable people and we usually move quickly on to the next outrage.


  11. - Stand Tall - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 1:00 pm:

    His son-in-law resigns because of a sexual harassment scandal in 2013 and the leader of the supposed progressive party and champion of women’s rights leads from behind on the issue. The leader of the Old Boys Club doing what he always does to stay in power.


  12. - Mr Grumply - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 1:04 pm:

    /begin sarcasm
    Of course it will pass…it already has — I mean, he’s issued a memo..what more do you possibly want? Its not like he’ll resign or anything? He’s the King. /end sarcasm


  13. - A question - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 1:07 pm:

    Has any politician not accused of sexual harassment resigned as part of the #MeToo movement? I can’t think of any.


  14. - Generic Drone - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 1:10 pm:

    Madigan is goin nowhere. Dems will need his clout this year.


  15. - Steve - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 1:14 pm:

    Mike Madigan isn’t going to resign. He doesn’t run statewide . He has a lot of power. He hasn’t personally sexually harassed anyone.


  16. - Ron - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 1:18 pm:

    We can only hope this time is different.


  17. - Roman - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 1:27 pm:

    Might March 21st be a watershed date in this matter?

    We will either have a Dem gubernatorial nominee who has called on Madigan to step down as party chair (Kennedy or Biss.) Or a nominee (JB) who is going to have a real difficult time dodging the question “as the unofficial head of the Illinois Democratic Party, do want Madigan to continue as party chair?”

    Madigan’s status as party chair could dominate the post primary news cycle.


  18. - The Blimp - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 1:29 pm:

    This moment did bring out some Democrats who dared to criticize him openly. The constant Rauner barrage of anti-Madiganism has seeped into some of our brains.


  19. - wordslinger - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 1:31 pm:

    –Or a nominee (JB) who is going to have a real difficult time dodging the question “as the unofficial head of the Illinois Democratic Party, do want Madigan to continue as party chair?”–

    I wouldn’t be too sure that Pritzker would have a difficult time with that question after the primary.

    I’d expect Pritzker to act in his own self-interest with an eye toward the general election.


  20. - Been There - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 1:45 pm:

    ===What good does it do any Dem candidates for Madigan to remain as party chair?===
    The main thing Madigan brings to the party apparatus is raising money. The line at the Dem fundraiser won’t have a miles long line to kiss the ring of almost any other official who takes over.
    That being said an inordinate amount of that money is spent on just the House races. And the rest of the coordinated campaign is the same. He could easily raise almost the same dough and run his operation without the Dem chair title. I don’t see the upside for him to keep the title.


  21. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 1:48 pm:

    “What good does it do any Dem candidates for Madigan to remain as party chair”

    Hell hath no fury like a Speaker scorned.


  22. - Roman - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 2:22 pm:

    == I’d expect Pritzker to act in his own self-interest with an eye toward the general election. ==

    Nudging the Speaker out as state chair might help with that. It would certainly help JB argue he’s independent of him.


  23. - Mama - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 2:42 pm:

    “And normally they do, but (because of) this #MeToo movement, these sexual harassment complaints, and … the idea that somehow, he did not handle them forthrightly,” the once inconceivable could happen.”

    The difference between the “MeToo” movement and what Madigan did is, Speaker Madigan did not sexually harass anyone. The person(s) whom chose to sexually harass others is the party that should be held responsible.


  24. - Mama - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 2:48 pm:

    “He could easily raise almost the same dough and run his operation without the Dem chair title.”

    Why would Madigan raise money without the chair title? The real question is, if other person is voted to chair the Dems, will he/she be able to raise as much money as Madigan?


  25. - Jen - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 3:10 pm:

    @ Mama, you seem to be unacquainted with the background. Madigan has been accused of slow-walking a sexual harassment complaint against one of his employees, and looking the other way until forced to deal with it by certain exposure. So no, he didn’t personally pestering Ms. Hampton to date him, but would have been fine continuing to employee the person who did. That is why folks think he did not handle things forthrightly.


  26. - Been There - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 3:21 pm:

    ===Why would Madigan raise money without the chair title? The real question is, if other person is voted to chair the Dems, will he/she be able to raise as much money as Madigan? ====
    I was trying to say Madigan could raise almost as much for his House races without the title. And for a new chair to raise money it would have to be an officer holder with a lot of power or an already rich person with rich friends.


  27. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 3:22 pm:

    === Why would Madigan raise money without the chair title? The real question is, if other person is voted to chair the Dems, will he/she be able to raise as much money as Madigan? ===

    Because he can? I mean Cullerton raises money, Durkin raises money - heck all candidates should be raising money. So of course he would raise money. The state party would not be receiving it, but he would still be raising it.


  28. - Mama - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 3:26 pm:

    ” The state party would not be receiving it, but he would still be raising it. ”

    Anonymous, the whole point is about raising money for the party.


  29. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 3:31 pm:

    I don’t think that was clear in your original comment. With that said, I doubt that anyone that would replace him as party chair would be able to raise remotely as much money as Madigan can.


  30. - Mama - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 3:32 pm:

    =”So no, he didn’t personally pestering Ms. Hampton to date him, but would have been fine continuing to employee the person who did.”==

    Jen, I’m not a lawyer so… please enlighten me on how pestering someone to “date” him considered ’sexual harassment’.


  31. - Jen - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 3:37 pm:

    @ Mama, when a supervisor repeatedly texts a subordinate asking to date them, commenting on their appearance, etc. that is sexual harassment.


  32. - Mama - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 3:51 pm:

    “when a supervisor repeatedly texts a subordinate asking to date them, commenting on their appearance, etc. that is sexual harassment.”

    Jen, you are right, I did not have all of the information. Thank you for enlightening me.


  33. - Joe Bidenopolous - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 3:59 pm:

    All of the non-earmarked cash raised by DPI goes to House elections, no others. The big advantage of being Chair is that parties get a much lower bulk postage rate than regular campaigns. Cullerton washes money through for his members.

    If MJM weren’t Chair and were still speaker, chances are he’d still be able to raise close to the same amount for his members, but then he’d need a friendly DPI Chair to wash the money through there for the lower postage rate.

    As for JB nudging him aside, since he isn’t and won’t be an elected state central committeeman, he doesn’t have a vote but I suppose he could have some sway. Distancing himself willl be easy. He can just say he thinks it best if MJM steps out of the Chair role, but that’s for others to decide.


  34. - hisgirlfriday - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 4:01 pm:

    Oh puhleeze to the notion that if Madigan isn’t party chair the Illinois Dems can no longer raise any money.

    Money will follow where the power is regardless and if you take away Madigan’s power and give it to another Dem (preferably one who isn’t politically radioactive and has a concept of messaging in the social media world) that new person will get the money.

    Madigan is not the only Illinois Democrat capable of getting people to give him money. Cullerton can raise money. Rahm can raise money. And remember that Illinois Democrat who used to be in the GA and became president? Somehow despite him not being Michael Madigan he found a way to make a whole lot of people give him money.


  35. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 4:24 pm:

    === Oh puhleeze to the notion that if Madigan isn’t party chair the Illinois Dems can no longer raise any money. ===

    Nobody said they wouldn’t be able to raise any money - they just wouldn’t be able to raise as much.


  36. - Pundent - Thursday, Mar 8, 18 @ 7:27 pm:

    If Bruce Rauner has accomplished anything its turning Mike Madigan into a much bigger liability for the Democrat party. That won’t change and others in the Republican party will build on that message. And it’s only a matter of time before someone does it and shows a willingness to govern at the same time. If Rauner could have only balanced his message with reasonable governance he probably could have taken Madigan out.


  37. - statehoss - Friday, Mar 9, 18 @ 12:58 am:

    I somehow missed that the Rita accuser was Andy McGann’s daughter.

    In her press conference she came out guns blazing against Madigan for how he handled a plea from her dad about Rita 15 years ago. I think the grease fire on the stove just leapt to the curtains.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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