'Sickened, but not surprised': What lawmakers are saying about new charges against Madigan
Suburban lawmakers expressed anger, frustration and other emotions following the announcement of new charges against disgraced former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
"(I) am of course sickened, but not surprised," said Democratic state Sen. Melinda Bush of Grayslake, a long-standing critic of Madigan and one of the first legislators to call for his eventual resignation.
Bush also chastised ComEd and AT&T Illinois for their roles in the bribery scandal.
Democratic state Rep. Terra Costa Howard of Glen Ellyn, who was among the 19 House Democrats who broke with Madigan and demanded a new speaker in 2020, said the latest indictment "details yet another betrayal of the people's trust by a man who cynically used his leadership position to further enrich the powers-that-be, at our expense."
Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods said he wasn't surprised by the new charges.
"This is exactly the environment that has been created by the Democratic machine in order to be able to do business in Springfield these days," McConchie said. "Businesses and lobbyists have been conditioned to think this is how you get a seat at the table here in Illinois. If you don't pay up, you don't have a shot."
Enough is enough, McConchie added.
"We must empower the people of Illinois again to take back their government from this corruption that continues to threaten our democracy," he said.
State Rep. Daniel Didech of Buffalo Grove, another member of that Gang of 19, said the latest indictment confirms he and his allies did the right thing for Illinois.
"Because of our choice to stand up to leaders in our own party, the legislature is addressing the many important issues in our state without the distraction of a criminally indicted speaker," Didech said.
State Rep. Anne Stava-Murray, a Naperville Democrat, also was part of the group that sought to oust Madigan.
"Since then I've been committed to supporting meaningful ethics reforms - like instituting a 10-year term limit on the office of the speaker," Stava-Murray said Friday. "(I) look forward to continuing the work we still have to do until there's full confidence restored in state government."
The new indictment drew disappointment from Democratic state Rep. Jonathan Carroll of Northbrook, another member of the Gang of 19.
"While everyone is entitled to (a) day in court, I'm proud House Democrats came together to elect new leadership," Carroll said.
Republican state Rep. Chris Bos of Lake Zurich said AT&T's newly revealed deferred-prosecution agreement, which calls for the utility to pay a $23 million fine for trying to bribe Madigan, "is another reminder of how far-reaching Mike Madigan's corruption web extends throughout Illinois."