Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago)
Illinois state Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) is demanding that Democratic Party Chairman Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) take responsibility, one way or the other, for the cloud of corruption hanging over the state legislature.
“Speaker Madigan needs to explain these inconsistencies or resign as leader of the party,” Martinez told Capital Fax in response to reports that some of Madigan's closest associates steered at least $30,000 to onetime Madigan operative Kevin Quinn after he was accused of sexually harassing a campaign worker. Martinez's comments came after Madigan penned a Chicago Tribune op-ed in which he vowed he had “made it a personal mission to take this issue head-on and correct past mistakes.”
Martinez argues that actions speak louder than words.
Illinois state Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago)
“This action should not be tolerated from the Chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party,” Martinez said. “He publicly promised things would be different. But he didn’t want to change his staff’s behavior. He wanted a cover-up. Madigan lied in public while his cronies paid the harasser.”
Madigan has always talked a good game. In one instance, he took the microphone at an Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association event last year to declare that sexual harassment, bullying or acts of revenge aimed at accusers would no longer be tolerated in Springfield.
“I urge my colleagues in the party and the legislature to join my demand for answers,” Martinez said. “Speaker Madigan must state what he knew, and when he knew it. The party and the public deserve to know why Madigan’s top lieutenants paid $30,000 to a fired, disgraced sexual harasser while at the same time directing a PR whisper campaign against the victim. The misogyny of the Madigan era must end. Women have come too far to have a leader who thinks payoffs and cover-ups are appropriate.”
The Tribune reports that this is not the first time Martinez, now running for Cook County Circuit Clerk, has bumped heads with the powerful House Speaker, with the two previously battling over issues such as state party slate selection-making.