Madigan loses support of another Democrat in Illinois House
House Speaker Mike Madigan has now lost the support of eight Democrats in the House, with most seeking his immediate resignation, since he was implicated in a $1.3 million federal bribery scandal.
State Rep. Maurice West, D-Rockford, is the latest House Democrat to take a stand against reelecting Michael Madigan as House speaker, according to WIFR-TV.
“I’m hoping that there’s a strong state representative that [I] could vote for. Someone who believes in term limits like I do. Someone who will be an advocate for strong, immediate ethics reform so we can regain trust in our government. Someone who believes in bipartisanship, so I’m looking forward to another option,” West said.
West’s ability to oppose Madigan depends on Nov. 3 election results. He faces Republican Kathie Jo Hansen for the 67th Illinois House District.
West is the eighth House Democrat to publicly call for Madigan’s resignation or commit to voting for a new speaker in January. State Reps. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago; Terra Costa Howard, D-Lombard; Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego; Lindsey LaPointe, D-Chicago; Yoni Pizer, D-Chicago; Anna Stava-Murray, D-Naperville; and Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, D-Glenview, are the others who have said Madigan must go. Three Democrats in the state Senate have made the same call, as have the General Assembly’s Republicans.
When the current legislative term began in 2019, Stava-Murray was the only House Democrat to vote against Madigan’s speakership. Now it appears at least eight will not support his reelection to the leadership position in January.
Kifowit announced she was going to run against Madigan for speaker, giving the longest serving speaker in American history his first real challenge for the job. He was first elected speaker in 1983 and served all but two years, when Republicans briefly held a majority in the House.
In a statement, Kifowit wrote, “it is clear to me that he doesn’t hold the same values that I do and falls short of what the public expects from an elected official.”
Madigan was implicated in a $1.3 billion federal bribery scandal with ComEd in July. He has not been charged with any crimes, but the prosecution agreement laid out how the utility hired Madigan’s political cronies, often to no-work jobs, to curry his favor for legislation worth $150 million.
A special investigative committee was formed in the House to determine whether Madigan engaged in actions unbecoming of a lawmaker. He refused to testify in front of the committee, instead calling it a “political stunt” and maintaining he did nothing wrong.
Madigan’s control over the party’s campaign funds helps him earn support from Democrats in contested elections. He recently transferred $3.25 million from his campaign committee to the state party. Candidates risk losing critical campaign money by dropping support for the speaker.
While he has survived decades in Springfield with little pressure, Madigan has clearly lost the confidence of members of his base. His leadership is now in jeopardy.
The corruption allegations have also become a major stumbling block as Gov. J.B. Pritzker spends $56.5 million trying to convince voters to trust state lawmakers with greater taxing powers through his “fair tax.”
Trust is certainly a question that should be on voters’ minds Nov. 3 after Madigan and four other key supporters of the proposed $3 billion tax hike have been implicated, indicted or convicted in federal corruption investigations. Voting “no” on the “fair tax” would preserve the flat tax protection the Illinois Constitution’s authors fought to include 50 years ago.
It would mean taxpayers could still stand together and oppose tax hikes, rather than just trust Illinois lawmakers to show fiscal restraint.