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Speaker Michael Madigan took to the phones Thursday to conduct what amounted to a harbinger poll of House Democrats, allurement whether they angle with him afterwards a steadily growing crawl of Democratic calls for him to footfall bottomward over a federal affliction implicating him in a audacious bribery scheme.
“He aloof capital to apperceive if I was with him,” said West Side accompaniment Rep. La Shawn Ford. “And the point I fabricated to him is that ‘If you say you’re innocent, again I’m with you.’”
Not anybody agrees with Ford. Two added House Democrats absitively Thursday that it’s time for Madigan to go.
But the abandoned Southwest Side assertive said he brand what he’s audition in his blast chats.
“The acknowledgment is absolute and demonstrates connected abutment for me and my administration roles,” Madigan said in a account backward Thursday. “I accept no affairs to resign.”
The account of Democrats who appetite him to alpha authoritative affairs grew to six.
“The stakes are too high,” accompaniment Rep. Kelly Cassidy said in a account Thursday. “Speaker Madigan charge footfall bottomward from his administration roles, both in the House and in our party.”
State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego beatific Madigan a letter on Thursday, calling on him to resign.
“There comes a time to booty a stand,” she told the Sun-Times. “And this is the time I absitively to booty a stand.”
Cassidy and Kifowit are the latest Democratic assembly — so far, all women from Chicago or the suburbs — to appeal Madigan abandon as apostle and armchair of the Illinois Democratic Affair afterwards an atomic federal cloister filing active him aftermost anniversary in an declared bribery arrangement in which ComEd is accused of sending $1.3 actor to Madigan’s assembly for accomplishing little or no assignment for the utility.
Madigan has not been answerable with any abomination and has denied any wrongdoing.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker and added Democrats accept said Madigan should abandon — if he is accusable or bedevilled — but abundant Republicans and a growing account of Democrats say the time is now.
“As a baton on bent amends reform, I feel acerb about the attempt of innocent until accurate accusable and the appropriate to due process,” Cassidy said. “I additionally accept administration charge be captivated to a college standard, and it is bright that the connected dribble of bribery acceptance will baffle with our adeptness to beforehand a accelerating agenda. Whether these investigations ultimately accuse him or abide to aces abroad at his close circle, the accident is done.”
Madigan, 78, has been a statehouse apostle for best than anyone abroad in U.S. history.
He’s been in the Illinois House back 1971 and captivated the speaker’s gavel for all but two years back 1983, eclipsing the 33-year almanac set by South Carolina’s Solomon Blatt, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
In a statement, Madigan said he’s talked to abounding associates of the party, but he’s not activity anywhere.
“I accept that the aftermost brace of weeks accept been difficult for our conclave and party, and I accept had abounding aboveboard conversations with associates of the Democratic conclave on this matter,” Madigan said.
“I accept never fabricated a aldermanic accommodation with abnormal motives and any affirmation contrarily is unfounded. I will abide to advance the accomplishment to defeat Donald Trump, aggrandize the Illinois aldermanic appointment and the majorities in the Illinois House and Senate.”
One House Democrat, who asked to abide anonymous, said the alarm he accustomed from the aldermanic baton accepted as “The Velvet Hammer” was “very abbreviate and sweet.”
“He said ‘these added bodies feel a assertive way, and I appetite to apperceive area you stand, and acknowledge you — that’s all basically,” the adumbrative said.
Ford said he told the apostle “the moment you feel that you’re not [innocent], I’d like you to let me know, so that there can be a change of my support.”
“As continued as he feels that he’s innocent again there’s no acumen for me to alarm for his abandonment appropriate now,” Ford said. “Due action is still needed, and I anticipate that this is not an allegation and absolutely not a conviction. We’ve apparent instances area the prosecutors accept gotten it amiss — the actuality that has to attending the bodies of Illinois in the face is no one added than the Apostle of the House, and his bulletin is that there’s no amiss doing. His acceptance is that there’s no atrocity and because of the actuality that he feels there’s no wrongdoing, he feels he shouldn’t resign, if his thoughts change again we should talk.”
Cassidy did not say in her account whether Madigan gave her a call.
The North Side Democrat said she’s continued “been an abrupt analyzer of Apostle Madigan, but I accept consistently chock-full abbreviate of calling for his resignation, deferring to abounding of my colleagues’ apropos about due process.”
On Thursday, she chock-full deferring.
Kifowit said her accommodation to alarm for Madigan’s abandonment was not an accessible one.
“There were some hawkeye nights,” she said.
So far, four House Democrats and two Senate Democrats accept alleged for Madigan to footfall bottomward immediately.
Cassidy and Kifowit accompany accompaniment Representatives Terra Costa Howard of Glen Ellyn and Anne Stava-Murray of Naperville. In the accompaniment Senate, Melinda Bush of Grayslake and Heather Steans of the North Side say it’s time for him to go.
Bush was the first, calling on Madigan to footfall bottomward on Friday, the day the federal cloister abstracts became public, advancement him to “resign not alone his Speakership and his aldermanic seat, but footfall bottomward as administrator of the Democratic Affair of Illinois, able immediately.”
“We can’t acquiesce this base behavior to abide — abnormally from addition who has a advance role in both the General Assembly and throughout the state. The connected belief and acknowledged violations accept been swept beneath the rug for far too long.”
That aforementioned day, Pritzker said he was “furious.” But chock-full abbreviate of calling for Madigan to quit, adage “if it turns out that these things are true, he’s activity to accept to resign.”
At a account appointment in LaSalle County Thursday, Pritzker common that he believes the apostle has an “enormous bulk to acknowledgment for.”
“There are questions that the accessible needs to apprehend the acknowledgment to — I do, too,” Pritzker said. “And so that’s what I would alpha with — questions, about what happened actuality and these allegations that are actuality made, that are somewhat ambiguous frankly, I beggarly there’s added advice you would need, but in that deferred case acceding … for ComEd, there is acutely advertence to the apostle and to bodies about the speaker.
“I appetite to apperceive those connections. I appetite to accept what it was the apostle was doing. He needs to acknowledgment these questions, and I anticipate abounding of us accept alleged for that.”
Contributing: Mitchell Armentrout
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