Four Republican state legislators, including two from Will County, called for House Speaker Michael Madigan to resign because of his links to investigations and a harassment case that they said have “tainted” his caucus for decades.
State Reps. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, and Margo McDermed, R-Mokena, joined colleagues Randy Frese, R-Paloma, and Tom Morrison, R-Palatine, on Tuesday to demand that the longtime speaker resign.
The legislators cited reports of alleged bullying and sexual harassment in Madigan’s office, including those found through an investigation earlier this year by former federal prosecutor Maggie Hickey. In a Facebook post, Batinick noted that to his knowledge, they are the first sitting state representatives to call for Madigan’s resignation.
“Amidst a #MeToo scandal atop the political and legislative sides of Madigan’s operation, the Speaker has again and again promised reforms while simultaneously protecting his allies,” McDermed said in a news release. “Their response to sexual harassment and bullying has been to lie and intimidate the accusers while rewarding the harassers.”
Batinick said he believes that state government has a “culture of corruption,” which he blamed on Madigan, the longest-serving leader of a legislative body in the country.
“Under his reign, we’ve seen a decades-long pattern of unethical behavior and corruption in Illinois government,” Batinick said. “People all around him are being investigated, searched, recorded, arrested and indicted. To restore trust and accountability in state government, Speaker Madigan must resign.”
Republican lawmakers pushed for a package of legislation to address ethics concerns during the fall veto session, although both Batinick and McDermed decried what they saw as a lack of action by the General Assembly on such proposals.
On Tuesday, McDermed again criticized Madigan for his “refusal to advance more than a dozen ethics reform bills by House Republicans, only to bring forward extremely watered down measures during the 11th hour of the fall veto session.” She said her bills would have “brought forth meaningful change” but were “blocked” while Democrats passed bills that she said would do little to improve ethics in state government.
Batinick also said Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino, the state’s top financial watchdog, should resign, according to the release. He cited allegations that Mautino used campaign money for personal purposes for more than a decade while serving as a lawmaker.