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Thursday, June 07, 2012

Michael Madigan, Political Mafia Kingpin, Behind-the-Scenes



The most powerful person in Illinois is not the Governor, not former Mayor Richard Daley or current Mayor Rahm Emanuel...and sorry Barack Obama, but it isn't even you.

It's Michael Madigan, the political mafia kingpin, who's been exploiting taxpayers for decades, enriching himself, putting his family and friends in power and destroying the future of Illinois.

Most recently, he began manipulating and rigging an election for the 84th District State Rep race, using political terrorists and thugs to lie, intimidate and destroy people to elect a patsy, Stephanie Kifowit, a party girl, incompetent alderman from Aurora, who sold her soul to him with promises to do his dirty work in exchange for rewarding her desire for wealth and power.

As the political mafia tortures Aurora and Naperville, we are starting to learn more about the power structure of Michael Madigan and Lisa Madigan, the incompetent so-called attorney general of the state who conveniently looks the other way on her father's massive conflicts-of-interest and abuse of taxpayers.

John Kass of the Chicago Tribune helps explain just who Michael Madigan really is...




In Wisconsin the political debate has gone national this presidential election year: Too much government or not enough?

Yet just over the border, here in Illinois, political home of President Barack Obama, there is no political debate. Not really. We have plenty of government. There's so much government in Illinois that it sucks up all the oxygen. But there's just enough left over so that taxpayers can smell the stink of political refuse as they get another slap in the mouth.

The debate in Wisconsin was about ideas. You might agree or disagree, but it was a wonderful battle of ideas. There are no ideas in Illinois. A state run by political bosses isn't about ideas. What matters here is who gets what, as decided by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, boss of the Democrats and boss of Illinois.

Wisconsin had a recall election for its governor on Tuesday. But our governor doesn't run things here. Boss Madigan runs things, enriching himself through his law practice, controlling the Legislature that passes laws that benefit his private law clients, corporations, banks and real estate interests, while raising political money and sending armies of political workers to hammer legislators into line.

After reading the three-part investigative series in the Chicago Tribune that exposed how he operates, it became clear. It's a political protection racket.

Madigan didn't want to be interviewed by reporters David Kidwell and John Chase. But he did release a statement.

"The overall approach looks more like garbage from the two garbage haulers who work for a bankrupt company," Madigan said.

Arrogance fits him, doesn't it? It fits him the way that black cloak fit Emperor Palpatine in the old "Star Wars" movies. He's right, though, about the bankruptcy. The Tribune is in bankruptcy, and it will emerge from bankruptcy. That's business.

He's wrong to disparage garbage haulers. Without garbage hauling, we'd all get disease and die and the rats would eat us. And it's not like Boss Madigan doesn't know the guys at Streets and San. One of Madigan's handpicked Republican opponents, a young fellow who was supposed to lose and did exactly what was expected of him, works for Streets and San.

But Boss Madigan wanted to talk garbage. So let's talk garbage, Mike.

Garbage is in your footsteps, as a walking conflict of interest. Adding more pungency is that the top law enforcement officer in the state, Illinois (S0-Called) Attorney General Lisa Madigan, is the boss' daughter. Other state attorneys general investigate political corruption and legislative perks, or at least they call attention to these matters. But not little Lisa. Her daddy still might make her governor, or mayor, someday.

And meanwhile, I've learned there's a new chief of staff at the Regional Transportation Authority, an agency that relies on Boss Madigan's Legislature for much of its funding. RTA Executive Director Joseph Costello confirmed in an email on Tuesday that Jordan Matyas will be paid $160,000 a year as chief of staff. Surely the new chief of staff will have input on procurement and personnel. Who is Matyas?

He's Mike Madigan's son-in-law, married to Lisa's sister.

What's that smell, Mike? Anchovies or banana peels?

More garbage can be found in the fact that Boss Madigan installs judges and the Cook County assessor, even as he runs a legal practice that reduces the taxes of major downtown real estate holders who lean Republican.

All these corporate interests flock to pay his fees. They don't need a sign over Madigan's head or an engraved invitation. It's their business to know these things, to know the Chicago Way backward and forward. As they run to him, they trace over that ancient formula that has governed Illinois almost forever:

Big Republican money helps subsidize the lords of the Democratic machine, who strangle the state in debt and use patronage armies to maintain control while making fortunes of their own, leaving average folks to pay and pay and pay.

Is that garbage, too, Boss Madigan? Just asking.

And what of Madigan's ridiculous personal code of conduct that says if his clients express interest in legislation, "such as to create a conflict of interest, I recuse myself from consideration of the bill"?

Any law student could drive a fleet of trucks through the loopholes in those words. They're laughable. Boss Madigan is not required to release his law firm income, although he should be required by law, since he's the boss. As lord of the Legislature, he does his business behind closed doors, meeting puppet lawmakers, lobbyists and corporate bosses.

The same weekend the Tribune series began, the Sun-Times ran a story about Madigan's top election lawyer, Mike Kasper, who represented Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the Rahmfather's legal battles to prove he was actually a resident of Chicago while living and working for Obama in Washington. Now Kasper is the top lobbyist at Emanuel's City Hall, the administration Emanuel promised would be free of insiders.

Kasper helps keep candidates on the ballot as easily as he knocks them off. Would he have dared to take Emanuel's residency case if Boss Madigan didn't want him to take it? Of course not.

And so it all comes together, the anchovies, the coffee grounds, the banana peels, all of it at the bottom of the can behind the garage.

Madigan's insults and arrogance over humble garbage haulers have blinded him to a fact. Yes, It's a dirty job, but then, somebody's got to bring it to the curb or the alley. Somebody has to take out the trash.

Illinois, the can's full. It stinks. Will you take out the trash, please?

-Follow John Kass on Twitter @john_kass and watch his video commentary on this column here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lots of hyperbole here (the Sith lord????) but no substance. Where's the proof that "he began manipulating and rigging an election for the 84th District State Rep race, using political terrorists and thugs to lie, intimidate and destroy people to elect a patsy". As usual, Openline alleges things he has no evidence of -- because if he had the evidence, we'd have heard about it. And you talk about Kifowit's "desire for wealth and power". She ain't gonna get that in the Illinois Senate. Except maybe in the future, from the nice pension the legislators have and protect at the same time they move to slash all the other state employee's pensions.