All four candidates running for Illinois attorney general promise to fight corruption while some are taking pot shots at the incumbent for her track record on that issue.
Chicago Democrat and Attorney General Lisa Madigan faces off against Republican Steve Kim of Northbrook, Chicago Libertarian Bill Malan and the Green Party's David Black, a Belvidere resident, in Tuesday's election.
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Madigan took credit for creating a public integrity unit in the attorney general's office that investigates government misconduct and fraud. She cited a recent lawsuit among its accomplishments that alleged Markham-based Castle Construction wrongfully obtained funds from the Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago Public Building Commission by pretending it hired minority subcontractors.
Both Kim and Malan contend Madigan has done little to combat state corruption. Kim said "when your relative happens to runs state government ... there is that inherent conflict of interest," referring to powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan, Lisa Madigan's father by adoption.
Kim promised to push for a stronger ethics law and transfer staff from other areas of the attorney general's office to create an enhanced public corruption division headed up by someone such as former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman.
"I would make it much stronger," Kim said.
Malan has stated that Madigan is hamstrung as an independent because of her political ties.
Asked about allegations that Michael Madigan influences her actions, the attorney general said, "he's (Kim) just making that up."
"I went after the heart of government corruption in Illinois by leading an extensive investigation into allegations of former Gov. Blagojevich's corruption. At the request of the U.S. attorney, we turned over all of the evidence gathered in our investigation to his office. "I have taken aggressive action to recover taxpayer dollars lost through fraud in government programs, recovering over hundreds of millions in Medicaid fraud and whistle-blower cases," she stated. Meanwhile, Black said his top campaign issue is the influence of money in politics and promised not to accept any donations to his campaign from state contractors.
On the related issue of the Freedom of Information Act, Madigan said she pushed for reforms to law that give more authority to her FOIA Public Access Counselor office.
Kim wants an "effective FOIA process" where the public obtains the information it needs on a timely basis but sympathizes with municipal concerns that the law is costly in that it uses up staff time.
Kim is interested in a "tier system, where the most critical information would be provided in the quickest amount of time," but did not have specifics on how to implement that idea.