The Illinois Republican Party is using this week’s state fair as a platform to slam House Speaker Mike Madigan and Sen. Dick Durbin for “vowing to oppose term limits.” Gov. Bruce Rauner has been touring the state pushing a term limit petition.
This week at the state fair, the IRP distributed buttons with dated pictures of Madigan and Durbin that say “term limits now!” The party also issued a pair of press releases Wednesday that further attack the Illinois Democrats.
“It’s no surprise that Madigan opposes term limits,” one release reads. “He’s made millions of dollars off his speakership and his politically connected law firm.”
“Madigan is using political clout for personal gain,” the IRP added.
Additionally, the party claimed Madigan “has stonewalled every legislative and citizen attempt to get a term limits referendum on the ballot."
Moreover, the party said the speaker controls politicians who are “churned through his Chicago machine and propped up by his rigged system of special interest cash and gerrymandered districts."
Madigan responded to the attacks during a Thursday press conference, claiming that his stance on term limits “has been straightforward for a long time."
"I support term limits as administered by the voters,” Madigan said following the Democratic Chairmen’s Breakfast at the Illinois State Fair. “We had a real good example of how term limits as administered by the voters happened last primary where I was a candidate for renomination as a Democratic candidate for state representative. The Rauner Republicans spent over a million dollars to try and defeat me in my district and they failed and so in my view that's how term limits works when it’s administered by the voters.”
After being pressed on a potential conflict of interest with his law practice, Madigan claimed that all his records were public.
“Any filing done by my law office is a public record because they’re filed with the local assessor, they’re filed with the board of review,” Madigan said. “So it’s all public record.”
The speaker also referenced a 2010 report by the Chicago Tribune that examined twenty years of filings from his firm.
“They spent a great deal of time examining twenty years of filings and one of them said to (Madigan spokesman) Steve Brown, 'we never found any impropriety here, we never found an instance where someone said we’re going to retain your office to get some advantage with state government or going the other way,’” Madigan said. "it just never happened.”
Madigan repeatedly linked Rauner and to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, claiming that he thinks Illinois voters will reject their brand of “extremism” in November.
In a separate release, the IRP attempted to rebrand Thursday's Democrat’s Day at the state fair as “Career Politician’s Day.” The party introduced a new Snapchat filter to promote their cause.
The release attacked Durbin, claiming he opposes term limits because “he's too busy making money off his elected office.” The IRP also accused Durbin of funneling “millions in government kickbacks to his wife’s lobbying clients.”
Durbin, who is reportedly mulling a 2018 gubernatorial run, spoke at the Democrats’ breakfast at the state fair Thursday, faulting Illinois Republicans for dividing the state.
“Those politicians in the other party who would divide our state and set southern Illinois against Chicago and set central Illinois against northern Illinois - they aren't real leaders, they are dividers and we don’t need them,” Durbin said. “Whether they’re a governor or a congressman or a senator, whatever they happen to be, we are stronger as a state when we stand together."
Durbin also slammed Trump’s candidacy and lauded President Barack Obama’s leadership during his speech. The senator’s office did not respond to Ward Room’s request for comment on this story.