Daily file photo by Melanie Lust
A local representative last week called on House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) to resign from his leadership positions as house speaker and chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois.
State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (D-Glenview) is one of more than fifty Illinois Democrats calling on the embattled political powerhouse to leave his party leadership posts. The move comes after Madigan was implicated in a federal investigation into ComEd, resulting in a bribery charge for the company.
For Gong-Gershowitz, who represents part of Evanston, leadership is a question of moral, ethical and personal judgement.
“The fact that we have to have this conversation highlights the need for new leadership,” the first-term state congresswoman told The Daily. “We’re facing an existential crisis on almost every front: in our healthcare system, in our education system, our criminal justice system and our climate. We cannot afford any distractions or additional barriers to getting our state back on track and focusing on the needs of our constituents.”
According to a court document filed June 17, between 2011 and 2019, ComEd “corruptly” gave or offered assets — jobs, vendor subcontracts and monetary payments — for the benefit of Madigan and his associates.
The document notes the Illinois General Assembly regularly considered bills with “substantial impact” on ComEd’s operations, including legislation that “affected the regulatory process used to determine the rates ComEd could charge customers for the delivery of electricity.” ComEd has agreed to pay a $200 million fine in its deferred-prosecution agreement.
While several people are implicated in the case, no one has been criminally charged, including Madigan. In a July 17 statement, Madigan denied any wrongdoing and said he will cooperate with subpoenas to provide documents he believes “will clearly demonstrate that he has done nothing criminal or improper.”
If the corruption ties are true, Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said Madigan should resign. In a July 18 statement, Gong-Gershowitz joined the governor in calling for the immediate resignation of any elected officials proven to be involved in the scheme, including Madigan.
“I said when I ran that I would represent my constituents’ interests and I’ve worked hard to do so to the best of my ability every single day,” Gong-Gershowitz told The Daily. “It has never been hard for me to stand up and fight for what I believe in and say what I think is right.”
Email: [email protected]
— Local state Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz kicks off 2020 campaign
— Gong-Gershowitz wins crowded Democratic primary for 17th District state representative
— Democrat Michael Madigan re-elected House Speaker