Michael Madigan Resigns

Political Reign Ends

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“File:Michael Madigan.png” by illinoislawmakers is licensed under CC BY 3.0

On Feb. 18, Michael Madigan resigned from the Illinois State government. The end of February will mark his last day in the office and unofficially retire the “real Governor of Illinois,” as he was known by some in Springfield’s Capitol.

The man referred to as the real “Governor of Illinois” is departing his post leaves many wondering the reasons behind the abrupt decision. Many suspect Madigan’s desire to resign is almost a foreshadowing of what’s to come.

For over 50 years, Michael Madigan has had his hand in Illinois politics. The year 1969 marked the beginning of what would be known as the longest-serving state leader in US history. That year, Madigan was elected as the youngest committeeman for his district. At the time, the 13th Ward precinct captain placed the then 29-year-old Madigan on his political journey which would span some five decades. He has held such offices as a committeeman, chair of the Illinois Democratic Party, Speaker of the House for Illinois, and chief mapmaker of the legislative districts of the Illinois General Assembly. Madigan was able to rearrange a district to fit his political needs and aspirations with little to no opposition from those around him. It was too many just politics in Illinois.

The allegations of wrongdoing began in November, 2020, but have persisted throughout Madigan’s four decades in office. An email trail between Madigan and his friends uncovered the alleged reservation of summer internships for the young adults in Madigan’s district. It is believed that friends seeking jobs at ComEd pushed for favors from the office of Madigan’s office. It should be noted that Michael McClain, a confidant of Madigan, pushed the interest of Madigan wherever and whenever possible. As of Feb. 24, it should also be noted that McClain and his wife dissolved the law firm they founded and elected not to renew their law degrees. Throughout the federal investigation, many individuals received subpoenas, with many of the accused facing charges of racketeering, bribery and attempted extortion.

Many are shocked by the end of Madigan’s political reign and do not foresee another such career lasting as long as his, which began in 1983 and concluded with his resignation this month. Madigan is not the first but he will not be the last political leader to fall from grace and in essence, end their political careers in a cloud of suspicion.  However, Illinois still grapples with replacing Madigan, as his successor, Edward Guerra Kodatt, stepped down after just three days, a stark contrast to Madigan’s four-decade tenure.