Chicago, Illinois has a reputation for political corruption. Longtime Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan has been a huge part of the problem for decades, but his time is finally up.
Madigan announced his retirement amid murmurings that he is the unnamed political official who prosecutors say received bribes from Illinois power company ComEd, Breitbart reported. The 78-year-old Democratic state representative lost his decades-long speakership last month.
The scheme had apparently been going on for years, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office fined ComEd $200 million in 2019. The company was accused of awarding contracts to cronies of “Public Official A” as well as no-show employment positions.
“It’s no secret that I have been the target of vicious attacks by people who sought to diminish my many achievements lifting up the working people of Illinois,” Madigan claimed in a statement. “The fact is, my motivation for holding elected office has never wavered. I have been resolute in my dedication to public service and integrity, always acting in the interest of the people of Illinois.”
INBOX: Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan is resigning. Here’s his statement: pic.twitter.com/odseZLQybQ
— Joel Ebert (@joelebert29) February 18, 2021
Madigan has yet to be charged or formally implicated in the scandal. However, because the bribery was so pervasive, officials are incredulous that he could have been in the dark about it.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker praised his fellow Democrat for his years of service, saying that Madigan and his family “deserve kudos for the public service that former Speaker Madigan did.” While Pritzker admitted the accusations against Madigan were “not good,” he stopped short of admonishing his conduct.
Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin did not speak with the same reserve. Durkin said that the state had been “looking forward to” Madigan’s departure and that his “autocratic rule over the decades has not made Illinois a more prosperous nor competitive state.”
It appears those around him think there’s something to the allegations since it cost Madigan the speakership he held since 1983, with the exception of two years where the position was occupied by a Republican. Regardless of the final outcome of the investigation, it’s always a good day when there’s one fewer career politician holding onto a leadership position.