CHICAGO (CBS) — The federal indictment against former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan sent shockwaves through the halls of state and local government on Wednesday, as politicians on both sides of the alley condemning Madigan’s alleged behavior as “deplorable” and “disturbing”.
“An indictment of this magnitude is a condemnation of a system infected with pay-to-play promises, and the era of bribery and personal dealing among Illinois politicians must end. The alleged conduct in this indictment is deplorable and a gross breach of public trust. Michael Madigan must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law,” Governor JB Pritzker said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. Ultimately, every elected person is responsible for doing the right thing – and not lining their own pockets.I am fully committed to eradicating the scourge of corruption from our political system, and the indictment of “Today is an important step in cleaning up Illinois. I am confident that our justice system will help restore public trust in government.”
READ MORE: Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan charged with federal racketeering
Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, who chaired a special legislative panel investigating Madigan’s ties to the ComEd corruption scandal that first came to light in July 2020, before Welch replaced Madigan as president, defended his handling of the investigation, even though it ended with no findings of misconduct against Madigan.
Welch has repeatedly accused the Republicans who launched the special committee’s investigation of simply trying to stage a ‘mock trial’, while insisting he would not allow the committee to interfere with an investigation. criminal in progress.
“As chairman of the special investigative committee, I made it clear that this matter should be dealt with by a court, completely separate from the legislature. As this federal indictment shows, the full weight of the justice system was necessary to ensure that all charges were properly and thoroughly investigated. At my direction, the Office of the President has cooperated fully with the investigation and will continue to do so,” Welch said in a statement.
However, top Illinois Republicans said leading Democrats had turned a blind eye to Madigan’s corruption for years.
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy said the party is committed to defeating any Democrats who took money from Madigan, voted for him or defended him as a former leader of the Democratic Party.
“The list of those who should be held accountable for what happened is long, and it starts with Governor JB Pritzker,” he said in a statement. “For many years, Illinois Democrats across the state – from Governor JB Pritzker down – supported, activated and embraced Mike Madigan’s ring as he built a corrupt state government that served to enrich his allies and special interests while Illinois was collapsing. Illinois is a diminished state and the laughingstock of the rest of the nation because Mike Madigan cared more about retaining power than serving the interests of its citizens — and because elected Democrats across the state supported him. .
READ MORE: How we got here: Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan faces federal corruption charges
Many other Illinois Republicans echoed that sentiment, saying Democrats were well aware of the tactics Madigan used when he was in office, but did not act to force him out until it becomes clear that he was the target of a federal investigation.
“Madigan may have left as America’s most powerful House Speaker, but the culture of corruption he created that allowed him to stay in power for so long remains,” the official said. Illinois State Representative Tom Morrison of Palatine in a statement. “The House parliamentary rules he established to ensure his iron grip on power are the same rules we follow today. As a result, Illinois was deprived of accountable, bipartisan government for decades. And the damage to our state will take decades to repair, if ever. Illinois residents need to stand up and say enough is enough. We need real ethics and other major political reforms, and we need leadership term limits so that no individual can ever again amass so much power over the laws and policies of our state.
Illinois Senate President Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, said the charges against Madigan “are obviously disturbing allegations.”
“I have confidence in our justice system. Like everyone else, I will be watching to see how it plays out,” he said.
Aldus. Michele Smith (43rd) and Ald. Scott Waguespack (32n/a) released a joint statement pledging to strengthen the city’s ethics laws.
“No one is above the law. We are grateful to the American lawyers who built this case. We will continue to strengthen government ethics and transparency laws at City Hall, building on the laws we passed that prohibit government officials from lobbying City Hall for private interests,” they wrote.
NO MORE NEWS: Serial stowaway Marilyn Hartman is due back in court on Thursday