53 more Illinois Democrats call for Madigan’s resignation
Despite potential political repercussions, a growing list of Democrats are demanding Mike Madigan resign his leadership positions after he was implicated in a ComEd corruption scheme.
Calls for Michael Madigan to resign as Illinois House speaker and as chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois are growing louder and more public after his implication in the Commonwealth Edison bribery scandal. On Aug. 11, 53 Illinois Democrats penned an open letter calling for Madigan’s resignation from his leadership roles.
Also, a seventh Democratic state representative is now seeking Madigan’s immediate resignation.
The 53 Democratic leaders from across Illinois published their grievances on the web. Despite the diversity of thought in their party, the one thing they said unites them is the belief that “Illinois Democrats are in dire need of new leadership.”
Many of the state’s most prominent leaders signed onto the letter. They include former candidate for governor and former state Sen. Daniel Biss, former gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy, Pat Quinn’s Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon among many current and former Democratic leaders at the local level.
The group stated “it has become clear due to the ongoing corruption scandal that Michael Madigan’s leadership is threatening Illinois Democrats’ ability to achieve [our] goals.”
This is the largest group of Democrats yet to call for Madigan’s resignation as speaker and party leader – a sign his support continues to weaken and is not as strong as Madigan believes it to be. During the past month, 10 General Assembly Democrats have called for his resignation, including seven members of the House.
Most recently, state Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, D-Glenview, added her name to the list of House members calling for Madigan’s resignation. Gong-Gershowitz had previously said Madigan should step down if the allegations against him were true, but is now calling for his resignation without any qualifications.
“I fully support due process for Speaker Madigan and anyone else with respect to ongoing criminal investigations. However, whether someone should retain leadership positions in the General Assembly and the Illinois Democratic Party is a question of moral, ethical, and personal judgment, not criminal process. Leadership is a privilege and we must hold our leaders to a higher standard,” she said in a statement.
Gong-Gershowitz is a freshman representative and received nearly $247,000 in campaign contributions from Madigan. She said she made the decision after hearing concerns from her constituents. She called Madigan to tell him he’d lost her support.
America’s longest-serving House speaker would lose his majority support if he loses another eight House Democrats. In 2019, state Rep. Anne Stava-Murray, D-Naperville, was the lone House Democrat to vote against Madigan for speaker.
Madigan was implicated in a prosecution agreement with ComEd that stated political cronies received $1.3 million in contracts and bribes to curry his favor regarding rate regulations worth over $150 million to the utility. ComEd and Madigan face three lawsuits, including one for more than $450 million, based on admissions in the agreement.
Democratic state lawmakers have publicly worried Madigan will hurt their agenda, especially their “fair tax” proposal on the Nov. 3 ballot. Five lawmakers whose support was key to placing the referendum on the ballot now are charged or implicated in a widespread federal corruption probe. The fair tax’s top backer, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, also faces a federal probe for trying to dodge $331,000 in property taxes.