Four Illinois House Republican lawmakers called for Speaker Mike Madigan to resign amid news of a federal investigation on December 3, 2019. Yet seven months later, Madigan is still in charge and is now the known fixture of that same investigation. With federal prosecutors announcing bribery charges against ComEd Friday, and implicating the Speaker in the investigation although not yet charging him, State Representatives Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield), Randy Frese (R-Paloma), Margo McDermed (R-Mokena), and Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) are today renewing their call for Madigan to resign and are drafting a House Resolution to reflect that sentiment.
On Friday, several Democratic State Representatives, as well as Governor JB Pritzker, went on record to state that Madigan should resign if the allegations in the federal investigation turn out to be true. However, for Representative Batinick, he believes that it’s not an ‘if they are true’ that matters.
“Madigan has created this culture of corruption serving as the leader he has for decades,” said Batinick. “It is not an ‘if’ he is guilty—this investigation is because of his leadership and the tone he set in his administration. This absolutely happened under his watch and he needs to resign regardless of if or when federal charges are brought against him.”
While ComEd is cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s office in their ongoing investigation, which includes paying a $200 million fine in their deferred prosecution agreement, Madigan’s state office was subpoenaed for records. Despite that chaos, Madigan released a statement Friday assuring that he has done nothing wrong.
State Rep. Margo McDermed questions that reassurance and believes the money proves it. “Speaker Madigan hasn’t spent millions of dollars in campaign money on lawyers because he’s a victim,” said Rep. McDermed. “His continued ‘leadership,’ is a slap in the face to hard-working, honest Illinoisans.”
The long serving Speaker of the House has the authority to determine what is accomplished in the House of Representatives, which seems to be central in the now expanded criminal corruption probe. “Speaker Madigan has controlled the legislative process under his rein, using his power to control what bills get passed or which get buried,” said State Rep. Tom Morrison. “I was strongly opposed to the ComEd bailout bill in 2016 that he helped rush through the General Assembly at the 11th hour, and these past few days have made it clear why. While I stood calling for his resignation last year, due to the speculation of an FBI investigation, today we know the investigation is geared toward him. If Illinois is going to move past the culture of corruption that he cultivated for decades, he must resign.”
State Rep. Randy Frese emphasized the need for the Speaker to resign in order to salvage the trust Illinois residents have in Illinois government and the future of the state.
“Mike Madigan has, for decades, broken trust with the people of Illinois for his own personal gain and the pursuit of political power,” Frese said. “Today, some of my colleagues and I are once again calling on him to resign from his position as Speaker of the Illinois House. We ask our friends on the other side of the aisle to join us in calling for the Speaker’s resignation, and to stand up against the culture of corruption within State Government.”
To date, only one Democratic State Representative has called for Mike Madigan to outright resign. Madigan will need a majority to retain his role as Speaker, yet the goal of the House Resolution is to garner a supermajority of support, so it’s clear he won’t be retained as Speaker of the House should he choose to fight the allegations.