clearn.png
Friday December 3rd, 2021 4:13AM

Ex-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to resign seat

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat who set much of Illinois' political agenda as House speaker for four decades before his ouster last month, resigned his seat in the Legislature on Thursday.

Madigan, the longest-serving legislative leader in U.S. history, was tarnished by a federal bribery investigation announced last summer. Madigan — who was instrumental in turning Illinois solidly blue from the bellwether it had been for much of the 20th century — has not been charged in the federal probe and maintains his innocence. But after being implicated, he lost his bid for a 19th term as speaker to Hillside Democrat Emanuel “Chris” Welch.

In a statement Thursday, Madigan, 78, did not explicitly state the reason for his departure after holding the post for 50 years.

“It’s no secret that I have been the target of vicious attacks by people who sought to diminish my many achievements lifting up the working people of Illinois," Madigan said. "The fact is, my motivation for holding elected office has never wavered. I have been resolute in my dedication to public service and integrity, always acting in the interest of the people of Illinois.”

In a letter to the House clerk, Madigan offered his resignation effective Thursday. In the earlier statement, he said it would take effect at month's end.

In July, Madigan was implicated in a long-running bribery scheme involving the state’s largest electric utility, ComEd. Court filings didn’t name Madigan but made it clear he was the person in documents referred to as “Public Official A.” ComEd admitted it secured jobs, often requiring little or no work, and contracts for his associates from 2011 to 2019 for favorable treatment in regulations. ComEd agreed in August to pay $200 million, though that settlement did not preclude criminal charges against any individual.

A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago, Joseph Fitzpatrick, declined any comment on Madigan’s announcement Thursday but confirmed that the overall investigation is ongoing.

Shortly after the Justice Department revealed the probe, legislators began withdrawing support. Gov. J.B. Pritzker and other prominent Illinois Democrats blamed the scandal for Election Day losses and sought his ouster as state Democratic Party chairman — a post he has held since 1998.

Democratic committee members from Madigan's district on Chicago's southwest side have 30 days to choose his successor, who would serve until Madigan's term expires in January 2023. Madigan has been a ward committeeman since 1969 and controls 56% of the weighted vote in choosing a replacement, a spokeswoman said.

A protégé of the late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, Madigan first came to Springfield in 1969 as a constitutional convention delegate. He took a seat in the House in 1971, secured the speaker's gavel in 1983, and proved his mettle by winning elections, losing his majority just once, from 1995-1997.

Madigan was long known for doling out jobs for political fealty, a practice that has drawn scrutiny. Opponents complained that his clout benefited his private law practice handling property appeals.

A wily strategist who kept his hand close to this vest, Madigan deftly juggled political paradoxes. Despite knowing that Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich was under federal investigation for corruption, Madigan chaired his 2006 reelection campaign, then later led the effort to remove him from office. Madigan once spoke disparagingly of then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, then sponsored legislation to erect Obama's presidential library in Chicago.

He became a champion of overhauling the state's pricey pension program while dealing with complaints that he was responsible for pension enhancements and too often skipping state contributions, creating a $140 billion shortfall. He often was at his best when backed into a corner, like when his opposition to then-Gov. Bruce Rauner's conservative agenda led to a deadlock on the state budget for two years.

Rauner's successor, Pritzker, who last fall demanded Madigan resign if he wouldn't answer questions about the federal investigation, praised Madigan for “countless hours” of public service, singling out the Rauner years "when he served as the bulwark against constant cruelty to the most vulnerable.”

Republicans weren't so generous.

“Rep. Madigan’s autocratic rule over the decades has not made Illinois a more prosperous nor competitive state,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs. "Our state is in shambles — financially, structurally and ethically. New ideas and sincere collaboration between the parties is the only pathway forward.”

Welch, the new Illinois House speaker, touted Madigan’s “strong, sustained Democratic leadership” in approving same-sex marriage, abolishing the death penalty and establishing a $15-an-hour minimum wage.

Barbara Flynn Currie, who spent half of her 40 years in the state Legislature as Madigan's majority leader, noted his achievements in establishing a public-records access law, campaign contribution limits and expanded health care.

“He understood the meaning of public service: helping those in need and ensuring everyone a chance to succeed,” Currie said. “His legacy is a proud one.”

___

AP Legal Affairs Writer Michael Tarm contributed from Chicago.

___

Follow Political Writer John O’Connor at https://twitter.com/apoconnor

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
UN: Huge changes in society needed to keep nature, Earth OK
A new UN report on three environmental crises paints a picture of a broken Earth because of climate change, species loss and pollution
11:18AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Ex-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to resign seat
Illinois state Rep. Michael Madigan has announced that he is resigning his seat in the Legislature
11:17AM ( 12 minutes ago )
AP source: Police suggest keeping Capitol fence for months
U.S. Capitol Police officials told congressional leaders the razor-wire topped fencing around the Capitol should remain in place for several more months as law enforcement continues to track threats against lawmakers
10:28AM ( 1 hour ago )
U.S. News
The Latest: Snow, ice, vaccination delays? Time for a movie
Snow is falling in the northeastern United States, with up to 8 inches expected in the New York and New Jersey through Friday
11:27AM ( 3 minutes ago )
Spain: Dozens arrested in fresh riots over rapper's jailing
Spanish police have arrested more than 50 people and dozens more were injured during a second night of street protests sparked by the imprisonment of a rap artist
11:14AM ( 16 minutes ago )
The Latest: Texas grid stabilizing, half-million powerless
Power outages in Texas have dropped to below a half million, but the state is still facing major problems with drinking water systems
11:13AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
AP source: Sen. Cruz went to Mexico on vacation amid storm
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has traveled to Mexico for a family vacation as his home state grapples with a weather crisis
10:46AM ( 44 minutes ago )
The Latest: Study suggests London infection rates down
A study from Imperial College London suggests coronavirus infection rates in London have gone down 80% in the past month as lockdown measures curb the spread of the virus
10:45AM ( 44 minutes ago )
AP source: Sen. Cruz traveled to Mexico for family vacation
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has traveled to Mexico for a family vacation as his home state struggles with a weather crisis
10:41AM ( 48 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: UK invests in studies of long COVID-19 syndrome
Britain is backing four new studies to investigate why some people continue to have symptoms months after becoming sick with COVID-19
5:57AM ( 5 hours ago )
In surprise move, Facebook blocks news access in Australia
Australia’s government has condemned Facebook for its surprise move to prevent Australians from sharing news that also blocked some government communications and commercial pages
5:40AM ( 5 hours ago )
Trump-McConnell feud threatens Republicans' path to power
Former President Donald Trump is stepping up a political war within the Republican Party that could undermine the GOP’s ability to fight President Joe Biden’s agenda and ultimately return the party to power
5:38AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
UN: Huge changes in society needed to keep nature, Earth OK
A new UN report on three environmental crises paints a picture of a broken Earth because of climate change, species loss and pollution
11:18AM ( 11 minutes ago )
AP source: Police suggest keeping Capitol fence for months
U.S. Capitol Police officials told congressional leaders the razor-wire topped fencing around the Capitol should remain in place for several more months as law enforcement continues to track threats against lawmakers
10:28AM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden and congressional Democrats to unveil immigration bill
President Joe Biden's administration is joining Democrats on Capitol Hill to unveil a major immigration overhaul that would offer an eight-year pathway to citizenship to the estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status
5:24AM ( 6 hours ago )
Even without listening, US lives in Limbaugh’s media world
Rush Limbaugh was more than just a radio host
4:04AM ( 7 hours ago )
Even without listening, you live in Limbaugh's media world
Rush Limbaugh was more than just a radio host
3:06AM ( 8 hours ago )