Ex-House Speaker Madigan quits Democratic Party chairman job

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Democrat Michael Madigan, who for decades led the Illinois House of Representatives before recently resigning the Legislature amid an ongoing federal probe that implicated him in a long-running bribery scheme, quit on Monday as State Party Chairman.

Madigan, 78, did not give a reason for resigning as Party Chairman, a post he’s held since 1998.

“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. “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.”

Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough will be appointed as Interim Leader of State Democrats until a permanent replacement is named.

Jockeying to be Madigan’s permanent successor has begun, with Congresswoman Robin Kelly announcing plans to seek the party chairmanship.

Chicago Democrat Michael Madigan. PHOTO: AP

“With democracy under siege, it’s more important than ever that we have leaders of our party that can appeal to the broad sector of our electorate that represent all 102 counties of our state,” said the second Congressional District Representative. “As Chair, I will bring a fresh approach that includes my collaborative and inclusive work ethic.”

In July, Madigan, the longest-serving legislative leader in United States (US) history, was implicated in a long-running bribery scheme involving the state’s largest electric utility, Commonwealth Edison. Court filings didn’t name Madigan but made it clear he was the person in documents referred to as “Public Official A”. ComEd admitted it secured jobs, often requiring little or no work, and contracts for his associates from 2011 to 2019 for favourable treatment in regulations. ComEd agreed in August to pay USD200 million.

News of the investigation caused a loss of support among members of the Democratic delegation in the House, costing him the speakership. He resigned from the Legislature last Thursday.

In a statement, Yarbrough said Illinois is a reliably blue state based in large part because of the leadership of Madigan.