Mike Madigan

Anna Valencia's Secretary of State Campaign Faces Criticism Over Ties to Madigan Organizations

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While former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan is facing federal corruption charges, he is still a Democratic committeeman, and those with ties to the former speaker helped several candidates get onto the ballot in the petitioning process, including Secretary of State candidate Anna Valencia.

Politicos say it was much more difficult to get the required signatures this year because the process was moved to January rather than September, with the weather causing some issues.

Another problem is voter anger with the political landscape in Illinois, and Democratic strategists say that those issues made experienced signature-getters even more valuable this time around.

For Valencia, her campaign collected way more signatures than were required, with nearly 20,000 obtained. Only 6,500 signatures were required to get on the ballot in the race to replace incumbent Secretary of State Jesse White, who will retire after his term concludes.

Strategists say that Valencia’s campaign received help in circulating petitions from groups with ties to Madigan’s organization. It also included help from Mike Kasper, the Valencia campaign’s attorney, who is one of Madigan’s closest aides.

Ald. David Moore, one of Valencia’s opponents, has criticized her campaign for its affiliations with Madigan’s organization.

“The elements of what he controlled, the people he controlled, are still there, so they have an interest in still maintaining what is going on in that Secretary of State seat,” he said.

With Madigan’s federal charges looming, ethics are becoming the hot-button issue in the race to replace White. Alexi Giannoulias responded to the former Speaker’s indictment by noting that one of the Secretary of State’s jobs is to oversee registration of lobbyists.

“My plan calls for tighter restrictions, and more transparency in the financial interests of lobbyists and elected officials,” he said.

Valencia has not publicly reacted to Madigan’s indictment, but instead referred to criticisms of Giannoulias’ connections to mismanaged loans at his family’s bank a decade ago.

She has also been criticized for not disclosing her husband’s work as a lobbyist for Monterrey Security in her financial disclosure forms for several years.

“There was some time he was not registered as a lobbyist for Monterrey Security,” she said at a recent campaign event. “We have always followed the rules set by the Board of Ethics and the State Board, and we go above and beyond.”

NBC 5 has learned that in her 2020 and 2021 Statements of Economic Interests, she did not disclose her husband’s lobbying work, and failed to report his income.

“If that was missed, and she’s a bright young lady, then that shouldn’t have been missed, (and) that means it was purposefully done,” Ald. Moore said.

The Valencia campaign has not responded to requests for comment on the disclosure form situation.

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