Springfield, IL - Illinois House Republicans say the Democratic Party of Illinois (DPI) is a "corrupt organization" since Mike Madigan is still in charge. While Madigan is the longest-serving Speaker in U.S. history, he is also the longtime chairman of the committee responsible for electing Democrats.
While Madigan is under investigation for a bribery scheme with ComEd, the Republicans say no one should accept funds from the party. Members said it is hypocritical if candidates tell voters they plan on "cleaning up" Illinois corruption and still take the Speaker's money. They also feel many Democrats are too afraid to say Madigan should resign due to the possibility of losing support.
"Right now, the vast majority of the Democrats running for election in the House, and also the incumbents, are silent. Silence is not an answer; silence is corruption," said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin.
The Western Springs native says several prospective Democratic lawmakers have already used Madigan's donations for campaign mailers. His caucus argues those candidates - mostly from the Chicago suburbs - should return the funding as soon as possible. They claim it's the best thing to do for candidates to be fully independent of Madigan's control.
"Speaker Madigan doesn't say a lot, but one of the things he's said repeatedly is he only asks for two things with people he supports for state representative," Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) exclaimed. "He demands they vote for him for Speaker and he demands that they vote for his rules. Those are his words."
Batinick says the state deserves lawmakers that fight for the public's interests instead of self-interest.
"The money that is financing these campaigns is in fact the fruit of poisonous corruption," added Rep. Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst).
The Democratic Party addressed these comments Monday night.
“We’re still trying to make sense of Leader Durkin’s comment ourselves, but one thing is certain - the Democratic Party and its leaders have fought to provide the people of our state and our country with access to healthcare, living wages, civil rights, affordable housing and clean air and water – all priorities that President Trump and former Republican Governor Bruce Rauner have worked to destroy," stated DPI Spokesperson Eileen Boyce. "Illinois Democrats will not be distracted by noise from people who were silent when Rauner tried to destroy our state and are now working to re-elect Donald Trump.”
Republicans have filed a House Resolution of "no confidence" in Madigan, requesting a vote for a new Speaker of the House. They hope Democrats will join them as cosponsors for the measure.