Madigan calls for investigation on himself

Jul 19, 2013

The latest person to call for an investigation into Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s dealings with Metra is House Speaker Michael Madigan. As IPR’s Amanda Vinicky reports, his office released a letter Friday afternoon encouraging an official ethics investigation.

A public hearing last week was supposed to be an opportunity for legislators to express outrage about the $716,000 severance package the suburban commuter rail agency approved for its former CEO. But it’s spiraled into a series of hearings, each providing further insight into Illinois’ political web.

At the center of that web … Speaker Madigan.

Ex-Metra CEO Alex Clifford has alleged interference by at least three state legislators including Madigan, who he says tried to get Metra to give one of his campaign foot-soldiers a raise. Clifford testified he doesn’t believe Madigan’s conduct was illegal:

“I think it is a moral and ethical … character flaw, personality flaw.  And again, it was my belief that as long as I did not close that loop that the illegal activity would not take place.”

But Metra is considering hiring former federal prosecutor Patrick Collins to investigate the allegations of political pressure.

And the Speaker himself has released a letter encouraging the Legislative Inspector General to investigate. Madigan writes he’s “confident that my actions were not inappropriate or violative of any applicable law or ethical rule.”