Think-tank analysts scold Madigan for not wanting to release tax returns
The co-founders of a Chicago-based conservative public-policy think tank recently challenged an assertion by House Speaker Mike Madigan's (D-Chicago) spokesman that Madigan shouldn't have to release his tax returns as Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has done.
"It's interesting how Steve Brown, Madigan's spokesman, is saying that what's good for the goose is not good for the gander," Pat Hughes, a co-founder of the Illinois Opportunity Project, said during a radio show appearance with co-founder Dan Proft before the general election. "In other words, Rauner should release his because he's an executive. I mean, in his governmental capacity, he's an executive, but then Madigan shouldn't have to release his?"
Hughes disputes that assertion.
"If one guy is going to do it, then the other guy has to do it, and the voters should have as much transparency as possible," Hughes said. "They should both do it. If one is going to do it, then they both should."
Hughes made his comments during the Nov. 6 edition of Illinois Rising, which is hosted by Proft, who also is Liberty Principles PAC chairperson and treasurer, as well as a senior fellow at the Chicago-based conservative think tank Illinois Policy Institute.
Hughes was responding to Brown's claims, published in several news outlets, including Crain's Chicago Business, that the House speaker complies with all applicable laws when he doesn't disclose his tax returns.
"If someone wants to change, file a bill, and we'll have a debate," Brown reportedly said.
Madigan should not have to voluntarily disclose his tax returns, as the governor always should, because state House Speaker is not an executive, Brown reportedly said.
"There's a vast difference in the powers," Brown reportedly said.
Proft, during his Illinois Rising conversation with Hughes, said a difference in practice also amounted to a difference in transparency between Madigan and Rauner. The governor, Proft said, has been almost painfully transparent.
"He has, through the running for governor, gotten a full, thorough proctology exam with respect to his business interests," Proft said.
The difference between the two politicians has not been covered much by the Chicago and Springfield-area press corps, Proft said.
"That should be known, that should be discussed out in the open, and why he (Madigan) gets a pass on this from the press corps is a curious thing to me," Proft said.
The difference also cuts through the political image Democrats try to project, Hughes said.
"The narrative of the left and of Mike Madigan and the people he runs for office across the state is that the Republicans are the party of the evil white men, and if Mike Madigan is one of those rich white men, really rich white men which we suspect him to be, that cuts really deeply into that narrative," Hughes said.
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