From Capitol Fax:
* Gov. Pritzker yesterday in Ottawa…
Question: If the Speaker called you today, would you say stay or go?
Pritzker: Well I’ve been very clear about my position about this. I mean I think the speaker has an enormous amount to answer for. There are questions that the public needs to hear the answer to. I do, too. And so that’s what I would start with, questions about exactly what happened here. And what are these allegations that are being made that are somewhat vague, frankly, I mean there’s more information you would need but in that deal, the deferred prosecution agreement, the DPA, for ComEd, there is obviously reference to the speaker and and to people around the speaker. I want to know those connections. I want to understand what it is the speaker was doing. He needs to answer these questions. I think many many of us have called for that.
Please pardon any transcription errors that I didn’t catch.
* Gov. Pritzker on the Skullduggery podcast…
Q: Governor, I want to switch gears a little bit. Illinois has a long and storied history of corruption in its politics. I know you would hope that that was a thing of the past, but the Speaker of the Illinois House, and the Chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party, Michael Madigan, was recently implicated in a pay to play scandal involving ComEd. A growing number of Democratic lawmakers are calling on Madigan to resign. One the other day, state Sen. Heather Steans said he needs to quit now over what she called, quote, a sordid picture of bribery influence peddling and insider dealing. Now you have not called on Madigan to resign.
You said only if the allegations are proven to be true or if he is indicted or convicted. Is that really the only standard for participating in public life in Illinois, either you’re convicted or it’s okay to serve?
Pritzker: That’s not the standard that I set. I did say that the speaker would need to resign if the allegations are true. And I have we have, unfortunately, as you know, had other corrupt politicians who have been indicted over the last year and a half and the same standard here that, you know, when their offices get raided when they’re indicted, you know, when the facts come forward, that are directed at them. That is when it is time for people in important positions to either resign their position within the legislature or resign the legislature all together. And in either of those, you know, any circumstance of these allegations being shown to be true. As I’ve said with the other legislators, you know, when there is a preponderance of this kind of activity, you know, raids of their offices, etc. That is when people need to be resigning. Look, there is a growing belief that the speaker has a lot to answer for. There is an awful there are an awful lot of questions that he needs to answer and I have called for him to answer those questions. But thus far we have not heard from him.
Q: Right. I mean, but look, he has been identified in a federal indictment as Public Official Number One, the facts have been are laid out in that indictment of all sorts of payments going to friends and associates of his in exchange for favorable legislation for ComEd. What more do you need to know at this point to say, yes, Michael Madigan has to go?
Pritzker: Well, that’s what I’m saying is, those are serious allegations. Well, let’s start with the fact that this massive utility has committed massive infractions, right? They’ve been found guilty, essentially. And in the process of that, all kinds of things are coming to light. And we need answers to those questions because there hasn’t been any direct indictment. There’s an implication absolutely about a number of people in there. We need to know much, much more. But the truth is that we have a real problem here. There is no doubt about it a need for ethics legislation in our state that we have not seen before. I have called for major changes in the law. For example, we need to stop this the idea that a legislator can quit one day and become a lobbyist/consultant the next day. That kind of revolving door has existed in Illinois. It’s got to go and legislators can no longer while they’re legislators be lobbyists at other levels of government. Those are two examples of loopholes that exist in this State of Illinois that don’t exist elsewhere that we need to close.
And then we need to see exactly what it is that ComEd did that we don’t have a law that covers, and then make sure that we’re closing those loopholes. And that I think is going to be revealed in the process of the conviction of ComEd and the revelations around the people who are written about in the ComEd indictment.
* Gov. Pritzker today in Chicago on Speaker Madigan…
He continues to have unanswered questions hanging out there. He needs to stand up and answer those questions.
I’ve said this from the very beginning, I believe that people who serve the public interest, people who get elected to public office have a duty to be transparent, and to live up to the integrity that’s demanded by the public for their public service. He needs to stand up and answer these questions because people have serious questions about those things.
The Illinois Republican Party replied:
In case you missed it, WCIA’s Mark Maxwell posted this video of Governor J.B. Pritzker dodging and weaving questions yesterday in Ottawa about whether House Speaker Michael Madigan should resign.
Pritzker now downplays the evidence presented in filings from the U.S. Attorney as “somewhat vague.” He says that he would like to ask Madigan some questions and that the people of Illinois deserve to hear from Madigan. But Pritzker refused to join the growing number of Democrats calling for Madigan to resign.
Here are the new questions Pritzker just raised:
- What allegations against Madigan does Pritzker find vague? What connections does he not see? Newspapers have reported extensively on the allegations in question.
- If Pritzker wants to ask Madigan questions, has he called him in the last week? If yes, what did they discuss? If not, why not?
- Does Pritzker believe that Madigan would ever admit guilt under questioning – should the standard of whether Madigan needs to resign be Madigan’s own word?]
- Pritzker knows that Madigan is not holding press conferences and that he won’t be answering questions publicly. So isn’t it a cop-out to say he wants to hear Madigan address questions before he would call on him to resign? Does that mean Pritzker will never call on Madigan to resign?
- Why is it so hard for Pritzker to join other Democrats in calling for Madigan to resign – what is Pritzker so afraid of?