SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Two more Illinois Democrats are calling on House Speaker Mike Madigan to resign.
This comes after ComEd admitted to federal prosecutors that it gave do-nothing jobs and consulting contracts to Madigan’s allies to win his support for legislation that benefited the electric company.
The speaker is facing the biggest threat to his power in his nearly 40-year reign. There have been scandals before, but rarely have there been cracks in his Democratic coalition.
“This is just not the person, a leader that I can support,” State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, (D) Oswego, said.
Kifowit and State Rep. Kelly Cassidy of Chicago make seven Illinois Democrats now calling for Madigan to resign from some or all of his positions — but only four of them are in the house.
If it comes down to a vote, at least 16 House Democrats would have to turn on Madigan to remove him.
The country’s longest serving state house speaker is reportedly calling members of his caucus, gauging support.
“If you’re speaker of the House you should know if people are using your name or are doing favors to keep you happy,” Kifowit said. “That’s a dereliction of duty that undermines trust in the office of speaker of the house.”
Most Illinois Democrats have echoed Gov. JB Pritzker’s carefully worded statement that the allegations must be proven before Madigan gives up his gavel or leadership of the Illinois Democratic party.
“If these allegations against the speaker are true, there is no question he will have betrayed the public trust and must resign,” Pritzker said.
While ComEd and federal prosecutors have implicated Madigan in the scandal, he hasn’t been charged, and denies wrongdoing.
Madigan issued the following statement Thursday:
“I understand that the last couple of weeks have been difficult for our caucus and party, and I have had many candid conversations with members of the Democratic caucus on this matter. The feedback is positive and demonstrates continued support for me and my leadership roles. I have no plans to resign. I have never made a legislative decision with improper motives and any claim otherwise is unfounded. I will continue to lead the effort to defeat Donald Trump, expand the Illinois congressional delegation and the majorities in the Illinois House and Senate.”
Republican House Minority Leader Jim Durkin is introducing a resolution calling for Madigan’s immediate resignation – but since Madigan controls which legislation is called for a vote, it’s likely dead on arrival. It’ll be up to Democrats to decide whether a leader under siege is a leader they can live with.
“It could take years for guilt to be proven but leadership in the House is very important and we can’t have the speaker of the House under investigation or FBI scrutiny or named in FBI documents,” Kifowit said. “It’s just wrong.”
All seven of the Democrats who have called on Madigan to relinquish power are women.