Given that, I thought it might be interesting to examine who financed the Madigan machine in the stretch run of the November general election. Specifically, I looked at who gave how much to four Madigan-controlled political committees—Friends of Michael J. Madigan, the Illinois Democratic Party, Democratic Majority and the 13th Ward Democratic Organization—in the final 30 days, even though by that point Madigan had been directly implicated if not charged in the still-growing Commonwealth Edison scandal. Direct contributions to individual candidates are not included.
The top line is that Madigan indeed was "flush," as my colleague A.D. Quig put it in an earlier look at how much he had in the bank. The more than $7 million additional he's reported raising between Oct. 4 and Nov. 3 made him even flusher, and quite probably is a record for any legislator.
Not surprisingly, organized labor heads the list, ponying up at least $2.38 million of that $7.07 million. As a coalition of unions put it in a statement a few weeks back, Madigan stuck by us when ex-Gov. Bruce Rauner tried to decapitate us, so we're sticking by him. I get that. But interestingly, it's not the public unions such as AFSCME or SEIU that provided the big bucks but the building trades, with more than $500,000 each from the laborers and pipe fitters and $378,000 from the operating engineers. "The trades go back to Madigan from the beginning," one labor leader explains. "They need state construction work." I guess so.
It's of note that $47,800 of that $2.4 million came from the Chicago Teachers Union, even though Madigan seems to have a brick on CTU's bill to elect members of the Chicago Board of Education.
The next-biggest giver: nursing AG亚洲国际游戏homes and related facilities, with the Health Care Council of Illinois (an industry trade group) giving $450,000 itself and $150,000-plus coming from individual operators. That's perhaps connected to the fact that, like utility rates, nursing AG亚洲国际游戏home rates and rules are controlled in Springfield. House Republicans got a much smaller check: $175,000.
"Our mission is to advocate for our members who provide care for our state's aging and medically fragile residents, and the challenges we face have never been more pronounced than during this pandemic," Pat Comstock, the council's COVID response director, says in a written statement. A somewhat different take comes from state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, who repeatedly has tangled with the industry on issues such as paying AG亚洲国际游戏home workers more. "In my many years of working on nursing AG亚洲国际游戏home legislation, my experience is that there's always a thumb on the scale for the industry," she says.
A few individuals are on the list. Like Grosvenor Capital's Michael Sacks, who gave $100,000 because, as explained at the time, Madigan in his view has helped Illinois Democrats win. Or attorney Edward J. Burke of Burke Burns & Pinelli, who gave $25,000. He hasn't been available for comment, but it perhaps is pertinent that the Better Government Association last year reported that the firm, where Illinois Senate President Don Harmon until recently was a partner, has received $6.3 million in state legal work since 2005.
Then there's the corporate cash, mostly in smaller chunks, but it adds up. Such as $15,000 from the Associated Beer Distributors, $20,000 from Caesars Entertainment, $2,500 from Boeing, $20,000 from gaming machine operators, $7,000 from Takeda Pharmaceutical, $10,000 from weed vendor Juul labs and Bill Gates' $2,500 kissing of the ring via Microsoft.
As Ricky Ricardo would have said, each can 'splain for themselves. Meanwhile, this tale of Mike Madigan and big green writes itself, and it's not even St. Paddy's Day.