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Longest-Serving Democratic State House Speaker in America Losing His Grip on Power…Caught in Corruption

Another Democrat has been caught up in corruption and members of both parties in Illinois are calling for him to resign.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, nicknamed “The Velvet Hammer” may soon be gone from Illinois politics after it was discovered that he was selling his influence to the highest bidder.

Madigan had been the most influential member of the Illinois legislature for decades but he will soon limp away from the halls where he wielded that power in disgrace.

His scandal is being blamed for the parties’ dismal showing in this year’s election. But before the election, no one had called for his resignation.

I guess you get to remain in office as a Democrat until it starts costing the Democrats power. At that point, you are toast.


Madigan’s exit would bring practical concerns for Democrats, and not just in Illinois: Despite having a Democratic supermajority, the speaker’s allies in labor and in the General Assembly worry ousting Madigan now could jeopardize their control over the next redistricting process, which begins in 2021. There is also fear around being alienated from him and “The Program,” Madigan’s fundraising operation and an army of volunteers that help candidates win campaigns.

Madigan, known as the “Velvet Hammer,” could afford to lose only 13 votes in the Illinois House and hold on as speaker — a figure he hit early this week. By Thursday night, 17 had defected as he sought to defend himself (the number grew to 18 on Friday morning).

Sen Dick Durbin, Sen Tammy Duckworth and Governor Pritzker have all called on Madigan to step down. They say that other Democrats were tarred as allies of the Speaker and that hurt them.

He will be missed next year as the legislature redraws the maps for their House seats. His leadership and ability to raise money will no longer be available to them.

Durbin said:

“All across our state — and the advertising told the story — we paid a heavy price for the speaker’s chairmanship of the Democratic Party. Candidates who had little or no connection with [Madigan] whatsoever were being tarred as Madigan allies who are behind corruption and so forth and so on.”

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