Illinois Speaker Mike Madigan reportedly received a $97,000 donation from union interests on the very same day the state House’s attempt to reform public employee pensions failed.
The Chicago Sun-Times offers a concise play-by-play:
Madigan’s House on Friday afternoon took up a measure that wouldn’t touch four of the state’s five pensions systems — not teachers, not state workers, not judges, not university personnel. Hardly a drop in the bucket. Of the estimated $83 billion pension hole that Illinois has dug for itself, the pensions the House considered cutting would amount to a mere $50 million by one estimate or .003 percent of the hole we need to fill.
Now, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady is turning up the heat, exposing what appears to be quid pro quo transaction. “Mike Madigan has been talking a good game about fiscal reform but just follow the money to look at who is filling his pot of gold (campaign war chest).”
“Is this a quid pro quo? Connect the dots,” Brady went on. “After being a major part of the problem for over 30 years, did anyone really believe that Mike Madigan would get an extreme makeover and actually do something against his labor boss buddies?”
On the same day as the special session to deal with pension reform, Democratic Majority, a campaign fund chaired by Madigan to elect Democratic candidates to the Illinois House, received campaign contributions from two chapters of Service Employee International Union (SEIU) totaling $97,000.
That was the same day as the special session that produced no tangible results to dig Illinois out of its steep financial hole, thanks to lucrative public employee pensions it can not afford to continue paying.