SPRINGFIELD, IL — Gov. J.B. Pritzker says embattled Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan must stand before the public and answer questions about his involvement with Commonwealth Edison or resign.
Madigan’s close associate Michael McClain of Quincy, two former ComEd executives and a consultant who provided services to ComEd have been charged with orchestrating a bribery scheme to influence Madigan on legislation by giving jobs and contracts to his associates. The four pleaded not guilty to the charges via video conference Wednesday.
The indictment alleged that beginning in 2011, the defendants arranged for various associates of Madigan, including campaign workers and political allies, to obtain employment, contracts and monetary payments from ComEd. In some instances, the persons involved did little or no actual work.
During his daily COVID-19 briefing Thursday, Pritzker stopped short of asking the speaker to step down.
“I have been very clear about what my views are you are going to hear in the next I think, 4 or 6 weeks from the members of the House of Representatives who ultimately will make the decision on whether the speaker will be leaving office,” Pritzker said.
Republicans have been critical of Pritzker’s response. Illinois GOP Chairman Tim Schneider, who has regularly pushed for the governor to issue a stronger response about Madigan, has called Pritzker’s comments a “copout.”
The mayor of Chicago weighed in on the controversy Thursday. Mayor Lori Lightfoot didn’t come right out and say it, but reading through the lines, it appears she wants Madigan to go.
“Our democracy depends upon the people believing … that the leaders stand for them. That we are working hard every single day on behalf of the people and not on behalf of ourselves,” Lightfoot said. “We can’t do that if you don’t have legitimacy of the people that elected you in the first place. That’s not a statement about Michael Madigan. That’s a statement about all of us.”