Michael Madigan's hypocrisy

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's hypocrisy is so transparent, it would humiliate anyone who isn't as big an egomaniac.

madigan.jpg

Tribune photo by Chris Walker / December 4, 2008

House Speaker Michael Madigan yuks it up with his pal, convicted ex-gov. George Ryan on a 1999 plane flight to Cuba with a delegation of business and cultural leaders and other state officials.

As the Tribune reported:

House Speaker Michael Madigan forged ahead Wednesday on a plan to limit
campaign donations -- with a big exception for the dollars he and other
leaders dole out to ensure lawmakers' election and reward loyalty.

The move by the veteran leader would serve the dual purposes of putting his Democrats
on record in support of a major ethics reform while simultaneously
preserving his power as the state's longest-serving House speaker and
chairman of the state Democratic Party. Political party donations would
also be unlimited under the plan.

This is at the core of the multiple problems of the Illinois
Legislature. By being able to dole out large amounts of campaign cash
to Democratic House candidates, Madigan is assured of their loyalty. In
short, he has bought their votes. There's no independence, no roaming
outside of Madigan's corral.

The Tribune story said that
according to the   Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, the four
legislative leaders (both parties)  have had campaign war chests that
totaled at
least $25 million for each of the last three election cycles. That's a
lot of money to control, when campaigns for state House seats cost in
the mere thousands.

Some
suggest that the way to end this practice is for Democratic voters to
pressure their representatives not to vote for Madigan for House
Speaker when the time comes. A snowball's chance in hell, that is.

It
will take no less than an amendment to the Illinois Constitution to end
this practice, but the chances of that aren't much better. In Illinois,
hope does not spring eternal. 

Comments

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  • At least I now understand why my rep sent out a [choose one: newsletter/campaign piece], saying, among other things, she cosponsored a campaign finance bill that was vetoed by the governor. Considering her other votes, including with Mr. Speaker, supporting Todd Stroger, rather than her constituents, yesterday, I guess she knows where her bread is buttered.

  • Dennis, if you have my website address, I have posted a new piece scheduled for the NY Times. Its title: "THE PLOT TO KILL LUCY & WALTER; OR THE CONSPIRACY OF INEXORABILITY." It's my take on this world of websites, facebooks and tweets. Be curious as to your reactions...

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    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

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