Editorial: Madigan's latest scandal, Springfield's latest outrage

  • Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said last week that he had no knowledge of an alleged unreported rape that was referenced in an email written in 2012 by one of his close friends.

    Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said last week that he had no knowledge of an alleged unreported rape that was referenced in an email written in 2012 by one of his close friends. Associated Press File Photo

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Posted1/11/2020 2:37 PM

It reads like a sordid conversation between members of a crime syndicate family.

"He kept his mouth shut on Jones' ghost workers, the rape in Champaign and other things," former lobbyist Michael McClain wrote in an email in 2012. "He is loyal to the Administration."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The email to aides of then-Gov. Pat Quinn was turned up last week by WBEZ reporters Tony Arnold and Dave McKinney.

It marks the latest outrage in Springfield, the latest evidence of corruption in a state government that has built a national reputation for its corruption.

For years, McClain has been a key ally of House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The state employee McClain was trying in his email to defend was a paid political consultant in 2018 to the election campaign of current Gov. J.B. Pritzker and has since landed a contract as a consultant to the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board.

Let's see if we can add up a few of the obvious ironies here.

Madigan, who was as shocked -- shocked! -- by the revelations as Casablanca's Captain Louis Renault, apparently has yet to close the cafe. Madigan's office has been hit by a series of one scandal after another.

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And this is the guy we're depending on to make sure the state's redistricting is fair and balanced?

We agree with Greg Hinz of Crain's Chicago Business that it's time for Madigan to go. If the state's Democrats don't force his ouster as party chairman, they invite a backlash at the polls this November. And if the Illinois House doesn't move to replace him as speaker, it loses what little credibility it still has.

As for Pritzker, how much confidence are we supposed to have in his call for an investigation when the presumed anti-whisteblower did work for him and in essence still does?

The governor is "appalled and disgusted?" Really?

It has as much credence as Pritzker's feigned support for redistricting reform. Pritzker talked a good game about that when he was running, but when was the last time anyone saw him actually do anything to make it happen?

If Pritzker wants to be believed, he would start by engineering Madigan's replacement.

Then finally, the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board? How rich is that? We would laugh if only we didn't have to cry.

Illinois deserves better than this. It's time to turn outrage into action.

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