On the day four former Commonwealth Edison employees and lobbyists were arraigned in federal court for a multi-million-dollar bribery scheme apparently aimed at House Speaker Michael Madigan, the top Republican in the Illinois House called for Madigan to resign. But Governor JB Pritzker continued to stop short of calling on Madigan to quit.
Former State Representative and retired lobbyist Mike McClain, considered a close ally of Speaker Madigan, was among the four arraigned Wednesday. Former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore, former ComEd Executive John Hooker, and consultant and former City Club of Chicago President Jay Dougherty. (Disclosure: I am a former City Club member but have never met Mr. Dougherty.) All four plead “not guilty” to charges against them.
Shortly after the hearing, Republicans in the Illinois General Assembly held a virtual news conference calling for Madigan’s ouster.
“I’m asking him to leave the General Assembly,” said Durkin. “All roads in this massive and wide scandal lead to Speaker Madigan. Speaker Madigan under no circumstances can continue to serve.”
Previously, Governor JB Pritzker said Madigan had to answer all questions about his role in the ComEd bribery scheme, either to a Special Investigative Committee or the media, or should resign.
Since Pritzker’s initial declaration, Madigan has appeared unwilling to speak about the issue. Asked Wednesday if he now believed Madigan should resign, Pritzker continued to balk.
“The integrity of public servants is important for people to understand,” he said. “That means that when you serve in high office you should be willing to answer questions from the members of your caucus, from the people of Illinois, from the reporters and so on, or you shouldn’t be in office.”
Madigan wrote in a statement he planned to seek another term as Speaker. 19 Democrats have announced they won’t support the septuagenarian Speaker in January. Madigan has not been charged with any wrongdoing.