Lobbying business for former Madigan aide booming despite harassment allegations
A former aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) has maintained a healthy stable of lobbying clients five months after Madigan's office supposedly cut ties with him over multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
Madigan’s office never mentioned the former staffer by name when it announced in February that it was severing the relationship, but several media outlets later identified him as Shaw Decremer, who “volunteered” for Madigan on political campaigns while working as a lobbyist. The accusations involved inappropriate behavior toward candidates and staff.
Decremer did lose some clients at the time, including ComEd. A spokesman for the company told NBC 5 that it had terminated the contract after it “learned of the situation.”
But according to the Secretary of State’s lobbyist registry, Decremer Consulting still has more than a dozen clients. They include gaming businesses and professional sports leagues gearing up for a near-certain push for legalized sports betting in the wake of the U.S Supreme Court’s ruling in May clearing the path for it. Clients include DraftKings Inc., FanDuel Inc., Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association, which, according to one news report, was added after March 25, the most recent filing date on the Secretary of State’s list.
All are looking for a piece of the action; and with Chicago’s five professional sports teams, Illinois’ 10 riverboat casinos, and 124 parimutuel betting facilities, there’s potentially plenty to go around. Access to House and Senate leadership is key to shepherding a sports betting bill, favorable to one’s clients, through the General Assembly.
One bill, introduced by former NFL player and now state Sen. Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey), would allow Illinois casinos to take wagers on amateur, professional and college sports, and manage an internet platform for taking bets. The state would receive 12.5 percent of the sportsbooks' revenue.
The professional leagues would receive 1 percent of all Illinois sports wagering, under the Harris bill.
“That’s handle, not revenue,” a recent Legal Sports Report article said. “In practice, 1 percent of handle would amount to somewhere between 10 and 25 percent of a book’s revenue, depending on whom you ask.”
Other Decremer clients include: Dish Network LLC, GTI-Clinic (medical marijuana), Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee, Illinois Coalition of Appraisal Professionals, Illinois Federation of Dog Clubs and Owners, Illinois Medical Society, ISMIE Mutual Insurance, K-12 Inc., and VSS Inc. (business technology).