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Gov. Pritzker issues statement after Illinois’ ex-House speaker charged with racketeering

Michael Madigan
Michael Madigan(MGN)
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 3:42 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2022 at 5:08 PM CST
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CHICAGO (AP) — Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, for decades one of the nation’s most powerful state legislators, has been charged with racketeering and bribery.

Charging documents unsealed Wednesday accuse the 79-year-old Chicago Democrat of 22 counts of leading a criminal enterprise whose purpose was to enhance the political power and financial well-being of Madigan and his allies. Madigan becomes the most prominent politician swept up in a series of raids and indictments targeting Illinois Democrats.

Until earlier this year, Madigan was the longest-serving state House speaker in modern American history. He was nicknamed the “Velvet Hammer” for his insistence on strict party discipline.

Governor J.B. Pritzker issued the following statement following Madigan’s indictment:

“An indictment of this magnitude is a condemnation of a system infected with promises of pay-to-play, and the era of corruption and self-dealing among Illinois politicians must end. The conduct alleged in this indictment is deplorable and a stark violation of the public’s trust. Michael Madigan must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.

Ultimately, every person in elected office is responsible for doing the right thing – and not lining their own pockets. I am fully committed to eradicate the scourge of corruption from our political system, and today’s indictment is an important step in cleaning up Illinois. I have faith that our justice system will help restore the public’s trust in government.

When I ran for office, I made clear that I would be beholden to no one, and that I would serve the best interests of the people of Illinois. I have upheld that vow. For the past three years, my administration has made clear that such abuses will not be tolerated, and we’ve tightened our ethics laws. I will continue to work with the General Assembly to restore the public’s trust.”