Saturday, July 18, 2020

The Most Powerful Dem Politician In The Country

Today's recommended read is by Thomas Lifson at AmThinker: Huge Illinois utility paying $200 million to settle bribery case implicating the real boss of Illinois politics, House Speaker Michael Madigan. Lifson takes a bit of a deep dive into the documentation behind the ComEd/Mike Madigan case in Illinois, the factual predicate to the deferred prosecution deal in which ComEd agreed to pay $200 million and cooperate with the Feds in further "investigations."

I'll simply quote the beginning and end of the article, to give a flavor:

Anyone who understands politics in the corrupt state government of Illinois realizes that the power of Michael Madigan, Speaker of the state House of Representatives since 1983 except for two years, dwarfs that of the state’s governor.  He’s been called  “the most powerful Democrat politician in the country” with good reason, and over the years AT has covered him (here, here, and here for instance) for his power, and lately for the appearance that federal investigators have been wiretapping associates and maybe, just maybe closing in on him.

Is that just hyperbole? The Speaker of the IL House, the most powerful Dem politician in the country? Perhaps there is some hyperbole there. However, we see parallels to this phenomenon in the reign of Willie Brown in CA. What makes Madigan so powerful is that, even though he runs a state that is in steep decline, his control is so absolute that he can reliably provide electoral votes to a degree that saves the Dems the trouble of campaigning and expending resources in a state that contains what is still the third largest metro area in the US. And his control has extended reliably from 1983 to the present.

Lifson closes by quoting long time Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass, and recalling some interesting history from the note so long ago past:

Com Ed has not entered a guilty plea. Instead the feds are using what is called a “deferred prosecution agreement,” in which the company can avoid future prosecution by cooperating with investigators and paying the $200 million fine. They have every reason to spill the beans, as do others named in corruption. As John Kas puts it: 
… there won’t be any deal for Madigan. He’s the target. Targets don’t make deals. Targets see their families on visitors day. 
A historical note: At the time that Barrack Obama was first establishing himself in Chicago, he was reportedly assisted by the father of his friend Bill Ayers in obtaining a summer internship at one of Chicago’s most prestigious law firms. That father was Tom Ayers, the longtime head of Com Ed, and the law firm where Obama got his summer internship was the corporate counsel for Com Ed.

In no way am I minimizing the overriding importance of the Russia Hoax. However, keep cases like this one in Chicago in mind when you hear people questioning whether Barr is doing anything. I very much doubt that, absent Barr's firm hand at the helm of DoJ, cases like this would get anywhere. The importance of it all is seen in the rage against Barr.


  1. As MSM guys go, Kass is one of the better ones, a reasonably worthy successor to Royko.

  2. Kass is wonderful and the only conservative on the Tribune editorial board. I follow him on FB and love his monthly Mousta awards.

    As far as Madigan, his game is if you want his support or his recommendation on anything whether it's to a political office, legislation, alderman, etc... you have to first commit to him, his office, his role, his vision/agenda and only after you openly commit will he come out semi-publicly to support your political fundraising or stoop for your campaign. Dozens and dozens do this to ride the coattails of power in our state legislature.

  3. If comed paid a 200mm fine, how much are we thinking that they paid to politicians? Certainly not a million. Certainly not 10million. Maybe 50 million, maybe more. I would expect the fine to be in some proportion to the bribe. Perhaps 100 million?