- An expert on fraud and corruption says there’s enough to the quid-pro-quo claims against House Speaker Michael Madigan by a Democratic state representative to warrant a special counsel investigation.State Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood, who’s running for the Democratic nomination for Illinois Attorney General in the March 20 Primary Election, shared documents with Illinois News Network that he said shows in late 2016 Madigan asked him for campaign contributions in exchange for advancing legislation Drury was pushing.
Drury said he and Madigan had a dinner at the Union League Club in Chicago in October 2016. He said at that meeting, Madigan asked about the status of the bill and for 20 percent of Drury’s campaign funds – more than $50,000.
After Drury got back draft legislation reworked by Madigan’s office, Drury said Madigan called Oct. 27 to ask about the donation.
Drury said that Tim Mapes – who is the clerk of the House, Madigan’s chief of staff and the executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois – sent him a list of Democratic candidates to donate to for a total of $56,000. Drury said he decided instead to donate to two political action committees that were not on the list.
“I was in these meetings,” Drury said. “They’re documented and I knew that they should be documented and that’s what I did.”
The documents Drury provided included a string of emails between him and Madigan staffers, a memo Drury wrote with a detailed timeline of the events, and the Mapes memo with suggested Democrats Drury could donate to along with dollar amounts.
“We were trying to raise money for Democrats in that period,” Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said after reviewing Drury’s documents. “Drury had money. The original request was to help with the independent expenditure campaign.”
Brown said: “Nothing in the documents reflects quid-pro-quo.”
Saint Xavier University Center for the Study of Fraud and Corruption Director David Parker said that while the documents were cherry-picked by Drury, the timing of the events raised questions. Parker said the timing of Drury’s meeting with Madigan for dinner, a few days later a phone call, and then just a few hours later a list from Madigan’s office requesting $56,000, was troubling.
“I mean just within hours, I think most people who would look at this would [think] there’s a little bit of a smell to it, you know,” Parker said.
Drury has called for a special counsel to investigate any wrongdoing under the dome in Springfield.
Parker said that because Madigan is both the House Speaker and Democratic Party of Illinois chairman, a special counsel investigation may be warranted.
“There’s enough here for maybe a special counsel,” Parker said. “I’m not going to say prosecutor, because I can’t say there’s enough here for criminal, but it’s certainly with the conflicts I think more people would be comfortable and feel better about state politics to have a better idea of how it’s being played.”
Drury wouldn’t say he would forward the information to law enforcement. He said he knows law enforcement reads the news and that they’ll make their own determination whether to proceed with any investigation.
“I certainly felt that I had to, through my campaign committee, come up with a large amount of money in order to get legislation passed,” Drury said. “So if you want to call that pay to play, if you want to call it a shakedown, you can put whatever term you want on it.”
Madigan has repeatedly said he will not step down as either House Speaker or his role as chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois, despite growing calls from within his own party to do so.
Brown dismissed Drury’s claims.“He has this delusional problem, saying it’s all connected,” Brown said of Drury. “Scott has always been a difficult guy to work with. That’s part of his challenge in the General Assembly.”
- Comment: Madigan Mafia, the most destructive political machine for decades. A legacy of tyrannical desolation.