Mike Madigan, Illinois Longest-Serving House Speaker, Retires Ahead of Investigations

In this file photo, US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan as he arrives to address the Illinois General Assembly at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois on February 10, 2016. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

After losing his speakership last month, powerful Chicago Democrat Mike Madigan has announced his retirement from the House seat he has held since 1971.

On Thursday, Madigan, 78, announced that he will retire from his seat by the end of the month, according to ABC 7.

“It’s no secret that I have been the target of vicious attacks by people who sought to diminish my many achievements lifting up the working people of Illinois,” Madigan said in his statement. “The fact is, my motivation for holding elected office has never wavered. I have been resolute in my dedication to public service and integrity, always acting in the interest of the people of Illinois.”

“I leave office at peace with my decision and proud of the many contributions I’ve made to the state of Illinois, and I do so, knowing I’ve made a difference,” he added.

The scandal-plagued Chicagoland state representative’s resignation comes on the heels of his first-ever election loss for leadership of the state’s House of Representatives. Madigan had been House Speaker since 1983, with the exception of the two scant years Republicans controlled the legislature. But this year, for the first time, he could not muster the votes from his caucus to win the Speaker’s chair.

His loss was likely the result of a swirling controversy over implications that he may have been involved in a years-long bribery scheme involving Illinois electric company ComEd.

In 2019, federal prosecutors announced that ComEd would be fined $200 million for a scheme including bribes in the form of no-show jobs and contracts to associates of “Public Official A.” This official is assumed to be Madigan, but no confirmation has been made public.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office implicated a high-level elected official — labeled “Public Official A” — in the electric company’s attempts to sway said official by doling out exclusive contracts and no-show jobs to his friends and associates.

Illinois prosecutors have not outright charged Madigan in the scandal, but they have said that it strains credulity that he could have been in the dark about the growing bribery scandal.

Illinois Dem. Governor J.B. Pritzker said he wished Madigan well.

“When you serve as long and in as dedicated a fashion in terms of just his sheer, the number of hours the man put into the job, his family can really suffer; it’s a challenge,” Pritzker said Thursday. “I really just want to call them out today and say they really deserve kudos for the public service that former Speaker Madigan did.”

The Governor also said the investigation into the bribery scandal is “running its course,” but added, “The accusations that exist that are around things like that are not good. I believe it’s our job to tell the truth, be honest, to do the right thing, to serve with integrity.”

For his part, Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin took a shot at the former Speaker in a statement released Thursday.

“Today’s news of Rep. Madigan’s retirement comes as no surprise to me and every other Illinoisan, and I have been looking forward to this ‘new day’ in Illinois for some time. I urge the Democrats in both Chambers and the Governor to reflect on how we can use this opportunity to improve Illinois. Rep. Madigan’s autocratic rule over the decades has not made Illinois a more prosperous nor competitive state,” Durkin said.

Still, the resignation is sending shock waves through Illinois politics. Illinois Democrat sources have told Breitbart News that they are worried about what Madigan’s departure means for the future of the state party. Many are concerned over the loss of such an effective leader and are worried that Republicans may make gains in the state in the coming post-Madigan era.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.


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