A new call was issued Tuesday for Michael Madigan to resign his post as Speaker of the Illinois House. It comes on the heels of a federal criminal information filed against Commonwealth Edison in which the utility acknowledged it paid $1.3 million to secure jobs for political associates of Madigan’s.
Heather Steans, a 12-year veteran of the state senate from Lake Forest, said the case against ComEd undermines the public trust, and therefore, she said, Madigan should resign his Speaker’s post.
In a statement she released, Steans said the admission earlier this month by ComEd paints “a sordid picture of bribery, influence peddling and insider-dealing at the highest levels.”
In an interview, Steans said voters should get to decide if Madigan retains his House seat but that his long-held leadership spot should come to an end.
“I think there is a culture that needs to be changed [in Springfield] and that start’s with leadership,” Steans said.
Commonwealth Edison was cited in the federal criminal information on July 17, admitting that from 2011 to 2019 it awarded jobs and contracts to political associates of Madigan for favorable legislation.
Meantime, citing a pay-to-play atmosphere in Springfield, attorneys this week filed a class action lawsuit in Cook County Court alleging ComEd for years, as a result, overcharged customers “millions and perhaps billions.”
“A whole lot of serious wrongdoing happened here,” said Adam Levitt, one of the attorneys representing three individuals and three businesses in the lawsuit.
ComEd released a statement apologizing for past misconduct but said no customers have been financially harmed.
Madigan has not been charged with any crime and is listed only as “Public Official A” by federal authorities. A Madigan spokesperson had no comment.
For decades, Madigan has wielded great political powers.
“I think he’s a very powerful person and not somebody to take lightly,” said David Krupa.
In 2019, Krupa, then a teenage college student, ran an unsuccessful aldermanic campaign against Madigan’s handpicked 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn.
“A lot of people’s jobs depend on Mike Madigan, and a lot of people’s personal livelihoods and their reputation depends on not making the Speaker angry,” he said.
In less than three weeks Mike Madigan as head of the state Democratic Party will lead the Illinois delegation in nominating Joe Biden for president of the United States.
Steans said Madigan should also resign from his state party post.
Meantime, Wednesday morning, documents from a federal subpoena issued to Madigan’s office are to be turned over to a special federal grand jury.