The Illinois Republican Party no longer has Rod Blagojevich to kick around, so now it’s accusing House Speaker Michael Madigan of carrying on the legacy of the governor he impeached.
This Ward Room blogger is appreciative, because we don’t have Blagojevich to kick around anymore, either.
Monday morning, Republicans were attacking Madigan for a bill that would allow two Illinois Federation of Teachers Union lobbyists to continue to collect teachers’ pensions, even though each spent only one day in the classroom. The bill, which passed the House Personnel and Pensions Committee Sunday, would trump a bill, passed just two weeks ago, that takes away those benefits.
Madigan’s chief legislative counsel, David Ellis, testified in favor of the bill, saying that taking away a public pension, no matter how skeezily acquired, violates the Illinois Constitution.
“It’s changing the rules after people have followed the rules,” Ellis testified, according to Springfield’s State-Journal Register.
Here’s what Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady had to say about the legislative maneuver:
While most of us were preparing for the holidays over the weekend, Democratic Speaker of the House Mike Madigan continued the Blagojevich tradition of selling the state to his financial supporters by watering down pension reform legislation to appease Madigan’s labor union donors and political cronies.
On Sunday, Illinois House Democrats, A.K.A. Mike Madigan, moved legislation allowing his political pals & lobbyists to keep their inflated public pensions in the “Teacher for a Day, Pension for Life” scam.
“After 40 plus years of wielding virtually unchecked power, it is clear that Mike Madigan operates in an alternate universe,” said Illinois Republican Party Pat Brady. “In the face of national outrage and a federal criminal investigation into this specific pension abuse, Madigan continues to treat our tax dollars as his personal political piggy bank.“
“This stunt would make Rod Blagojevich blush,” added Brady.
The Blagojevich impeachment, trial and conviction was a boon to Madigan. For three years, Blago was the face of political corruption in Illinois, while Madigan operated under the radar. Now that Blago is going to prison, we can start keeping an eye on the Madigans again.
Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!