clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The $6 million Madigan? Former Illinois House speaker reports spending millions in legal fees

The Southwest Side Democrat is no longer the speaker of the Illinois House, a state representative or leader of the state Democratic Party. But he’s still Public Official A, the name given to him in a federal document that continues to be a boon to lawyers. A total of $6,798,304.20 to be precise.

Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan talks to reporters in February.
Former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan talks to reporters in February after he and other Cook County Democratic Committee members chose Angelica Guerrero-Cuellar to fill the seat he held in the House he held for half a century.
Ashlee Rezin-Garcia/Sun-Times file

Mike Madigan has spent over $2.7 million on lawyers so far this year alone.

The Southwest Side Democrat is no longer the speaker of the Illinois House, a state representative or leader of the state Democratic Party.

But he’s still Public Official A, the name given to him in a federal document that implicates him in a long bribery scheme that ended his political career — and continues to cost him in legal fees.

A total of $6,798,304.20 to be precise.

That’s because the latest $2,744,828.83 comes on top of $4,053,475.37 Madigan had already shelled out to lawyers since early 2018, a total that included fighting lawsuits filed by former political rivals and other legal troubles.

Madigan’s latest round of legal bills is just one revelation in campaign finance reports that politicians were required to file with the Illinois Board of Elections by the Thursday deadline.

The filings also detail the money game in the race for governor, secretary of state and other developing campaigns.

The report from the Friends of Michael J. Madigan committee, which covers the first quarter of the year, shows Madigan paying over $2.6 million alone in legal fees to the firm Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, another $66,677.35 to Mayer Brown, LLP and $6,002 to Fox Swibel Levin & Carroll, LLP.

Though he hasn’t been charged with a crime, Madigan was implicated in a years-long bribery scheme in which ComEd is accused of sending $1.3 million to Madigan’s associates for doing little or no work all while the utility hoped to land Madigan’s support for legislation in Springfield worth more than $150 million to the utility.

Former House Speaker Michael Madigan walks away from reporters after a committee hearing on the Southwest Side in February.
Former House Speaker Michael Madigan walks away from reporters after a committee hearing on the Southwest Side in February
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

That kicked off a series of events that included Madigan falling short of the 60 votes needed to retain the speaker’s gavel in January, resigning from the House seat he’d held for half a century and stepping down as head of the Democratic Party of Illinois.

He has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing.

A spokeswoman for Madigan, and for Katten Muchin Rosenman, did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Beyond politicians’ legal troubles, the reports give a window on political campaigns lying ahead.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who is expected to seek reelection next year, had not yet filed his report by early Thursday evening.

The governor ended last year with $404,933.96 on hand, and state records show only one contribution — a $35 million loan from the billionaire governor to his own campaign fund — since last year’s report was filed in January.

Pritzker has said that loan doesn’t signal the start of a pricy battle to retain his elected office, but rather is a “preventative measure” to protect against Republican attacks on the “Democratic agenda.”

So far, three Republican candidates have lined up to take on Pritzker, when he launches a formal reelection bid as expected.

Those Republican challengers include state Sen. Darren Bailey of downstate Xenia, former state Sen. Paul Schimpf of downstate Waterloo and businessman Gary Rabine of northwest suburban Bull Valley.

State Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, left; former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, right.
State Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, left; former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, R-Waterloo, right.
Facebook

Schimpf reported having $62,529.49 on hand at the close of 2020. In his latest report, Schimpf ended the quarter with $169,959.85.

Bailey, who has not yet filed his first quarter campaign finance report with the state, ended last year with $179,214.29 and has reported receiving $329,000 in contributions since then giving him a little over half a million dollars for his gubernatorial bid.

Rabine, who has not yet filed his report with the state either, has received contributions totaling $305,500, according to state figures — $257,000 of that is money Rabine has loaned himself.

Republican businessman Gary Rabine launches his gubernatorial run in Schaumburg in March.
Republican businessman Gary Rabine speaks to supporters as he launches his gubernatorial run at Rabine Group offices at 900 National Parkway in Schaumburg last month.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times file

In the race to succeed retiring Secretary of State Jesse White, City Clerk Anna Valencia raked in $220,298 in contributions during the first quarter of the year and ended the reporting period with $428,236.18, according to her committee’s report filed with the state.

Though she hasn’t officially jumped into the race, Valencia has formed an exploratory committee for a potential bid for the secretary of state’s race.

Former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias has said he added $1.4 million to his campaign war chest for his bid to succeed White though he had not yet filed his latest quarterly report.

Others officially seeking that seat are state Sen. Michael Hastings, D-Tinley Park, and Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd).

The alderman reported having $67,880.79 on hand in her quarterly report, which was filed earlier this month. Since then, Dowell has reported receiving $19,500 for a total of $87,380.79 in her war chest.

Hastings hasn’t yet filed his quarterly report with the state, but reported having $363,115.05 on hand in his January quarterly report. Since then, the state senator has pulled in $246,450 meaning he could have $609,565.05 in the bank for his campaign for secretary of state.