House Speaker Mike Madigan actually speaks!

Mike Madigan responds to a Crain's Chicago Business story asserting that he cost taxpayers perhaps as much as $500 million by killing five bills to refinance McCormick Place debt. His motive? The story said because he strongly disliked Juan Ochoa, the former  executive director of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition and Exposition Authority (McPier), which runs McCormick Place.

Madigan has replied to the story, which itself is a headline because his habit is not to speak to the media. In this story in the Rockford Register Star he claims that Blagojevich made him do it.  "Madigan said he refused to deal with Ochoa because he would not have any part in aiding corruption in the Blagojevich administration," the story said, adding:

Ochoa, Madigan said,  “was part and parcel of the Blagojevich operation, he took orders from the governor’s office, and I was not about to approve issuance of that debt, whether it was the selection of bond counsel, the bond underwriters, which  all would have been part and parcel of the Blagojevich fundraising operation, which is the reason Blagojevich is a twice-convicted felon.”

Illinois Republican Chairman Pat Brady thought the explanation was a side-splitter. In an email statement to the media, Brady said:

Are you kidding me? The all-powerful Speaker of the House who refuses to regularly address media questions, hides the extent of his government entangled business interests,  and gave Illinois taxpayers such nationally recognized legislative scams as Teacher for a Day, Pension for Life---is now a reformer?

His excuse that he did not want to deal with the corruption in the Blagojevich Administration is nonsense.  Blagojevich corruption allegations were nothing new when Madigan served as 2006, as Co-Chairman of the Blagojevich/Quinn re-election campaign.

Democrat Speaker Madigan has been able to hide his own corruption for years. More recently, aided by our absentee Attorney General Lisa Madigan, whose unwillingness to investigate anything that may impact her father's machine or her own political ambitions, has effectively granted him a get-out-of-jail free card. Illinois deserves better than the Madigans.

Them is fighting words.

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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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