Former Kendall County GOP chair: AG Madigan should have done more
Former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan could have done far more to root out public corruption, including going after Gov. Rod Blagojevich a decade ago, a prominent Kendall County Republican said during a recent interview.
"Absolutely she should have," Jim Marter, past chairman of the Kendall County Republican Central Committee, said during a Prairie State Wire email interview. "She took on consumer fraud and other feel-good stories; I believe she actually did some good in this area. But she ignored the biggest part of her job, which was to defend the citizens of Illinois from corruption and corrupt government officials."
Despite Lisa Madigan's brief comments during an interview earlier this month about her response to hearing Blagojevich "finally" had been arrested in 2008, Marter said she likely was more concerned about not going up against her father, powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago).
"Not surprising, seems (her) daddy (Michael Madigan) likes to get his way in the state of Illinois," Marter said. "There was a war going on and it was far easier to be against the 'outed' corrupt Rod Blagojevich and stand with the good people of Illinois than (to) take on (her) daddy's corrupt friends and family program."
Lisa Madigan's 16 years as attorney general in Illinois, which Marter called "the land of corruption," included the period surrounding Blagojevich's time as governor, but it was federal agents who arrested Blagojevich at his home a few weeks before Christmas in 2008.
"The Feds got Rod," Marter said. "No credit to her for that."
Blagojevich, now 62, was Illinois's 40th governor from 2003 until he was impeached, convicted on corruption charges and removed from office in 2009. Since March 2012, he has been serving a 14-year sentence on public corruption charges at the Englewood low-security federal correction institution in Littleton, Colorado.
President Trump apparently has considered commuting the sentence of Blagojevich, whose current release date is May 23, 2024, and last month Trump posted a note of sympathy for Blagojevich on his Twitter page.
Lisa Madigan briefly recalled Blagojevich's downfall during what was supposed to be a politics-off-the-table interview posted Jan. 10 to Chicago News 5's website. She can clearly be heard telling reporter Lisa Parker that she didn't want to talk about the disgraced and imprisoned former Democratic governor.
"But oh my god—the worst," Madigan said. "The governor has been arrested. To which my response was 'Oh, finally!'"
Blagojevich once suggested to Gov. J.B. Pritzker that Pritzker run for Lisa Madigan's attorney general seat should she leave that office, according to 2008 FBI tapes.
Marter recalled that Lisa Madigan claimed at the time to be working with federal agents but said there was far more going on behind the scenes of Blagojevich's downfall.
"I don't doubt that, as it seems inside the Democratic Party house there was a family feud between the Blagojevich camp and the more powerful Madigan camp," Marter said in the email. "But why not investigate for other abuses? Perhaps because they, the DEMs, do a better job at circling the wagons and protecting their own, without concern for Illinois citizens who they know they can count on for their vote, dead or alive."
Lisa Madigan went into the attorney general's job in 2002 with aims far higher, announcing, "It's time that Illinois's highest legal official takes an active, hands-on role in cleaning up government. And I will not let them down."
"She said she'd even prosecute her father if he were corrupt," Martel recalled. "Tough language and big promise, never kept. Let's see, she has allowed felons to hold public office, out-of-towners as city alderman, some politicians to hold multiple and conflicting offices and an Illinois college to pay $4 million in compensation to its president without a lawful board vote. Needless to say, the list goes on."