Gov. Bruce Rauner has called Mike Madigan corrupt for years, but on Monday the Republican governor said he “hopes” his Democratic nemesis has been “doing something illegal” and “he gets prosecuted.”
Madigan’s spokesman in turn called Rauner’s comments “rambling” and part of his “exit interview.”
The governor doubled down on statements he made last week in Springfield when he urged Republican attorney general candidate Erika Harold to “prosecute” the powerful Democratic House speaker should she win.
Speaking to reporters after a bill signing at Harper College in Palatine on Monday, Rauner was asked about a federal lawsuit filed by Jason Gonzales, a former Democratic opponent of Madigan’s, who alleges Madigan put up two sham candidates in the race.
Rauner, Madigan and Cicero Town President Larry Dominick are among the biggest names those lawyers are seeking to depose in the case.
“I do know that Speaker Madigan has a pattern of putting up sham candidates in many elections, not just this one,” Rauner said. “So I hope they get to the truth of it. And frankly, I hope if the speaker, clearly he’s been doing unethical things. I hope he’s been doing something illegal, and I hope he gets prosecuted.”
Madigan spokesman Steve Brown called the comments “another day of rambling” by Rauner.
“It’s the exit interview Bruce Rauner is conducting as he prepares to leave office after four years of failure,” Brown added. “There’s no unethical conduct. There’s nothing there.”
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Asked about his deposition, Rauner said he doesn’t know “too much about the case itself.”
One of the defense strategies for Madigan’s team is to try to prove that Gonzales was a “closet Republican.”
But Rauner on Monday insisted he doesn’t know Gonzales — “never spoken with him, never had an interaction with him.”
Rauner’s tentative deposition is set for Sept. 6, although footnotes in a status report note that Rauner’s counsel “stated the Governor’s busy scheduled precluded him from providing a firm date and asked that Defendants postpone a firm date.” His counsel also said the defendants could pick a date, but the governor “may not be able to commit to it,” a federal court filing said.
Last week in a Downstate radio interview on WJPF, Rauner said if Harold is elected, he’d want her to prosecute Madigan for corruption. He also pledged $1 million in contributions to her campaign.
“I need her to win. Lisa Madigan has defended corruption of her dad,” Rauner said. “Erika Harold will prosecute Madigan and the corruption. She’s awesome.”
Despite those claims, Rauner hasn’t been able to specify what crimes Madigan could be prosecuted for.
Asked about Rauner’s statements, Harold’s campaign on Monday said they would not “engage in hypotheticals about these sorts of cases.”