Ethics on family which one is going to prevail who does whom? Go ag Go!!!!

July 18, 2013 § Leave a comment

Questions mount for Lisa Madigan and her father

John KassJuly 18, 2013

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan thinks I put bad ideas into people’s heads.

“It sounds to me like you’ve been reading too much John Kass,” she told reporters, rather curtly, on Wednesday.

She said this as her father, House Speaker Michael Madigan, boss of Illinois politics, was slowly being roasted (and not in a nice, delicious way) over the $700,000 Metra hush-money scandal.

Well, if Lisa Madigan doesn’t like my ideas, let me pass her another.

This one involves an April 10 letter sent by a Regional Transportation Authority official to the Illinois General Assembly controlled by her father, Boss Madigan.

In the letter — and I have a copy — the RTA official lobbied for more transportation funds from lawmakers. But the last part caught my eye: “Issue No. 3 Reduction in the Appropriation to the Office of the Executive Inspector General.”

In this section, the RTA official complained that too much state money had been set aside to investigate some 15,000 transportation workers. What the letter didn’t say is that for decades, transportation has been considered a bastion of clouted contracts, patronage and sporadic mopery.

The RTA official said the proposed 2014 budget appropriated $41 per worker for investigations by the state inspector general in all other agencies, but earmarked $107 per worker employed by RTA, CTA, Pace and Metra.

This, the RTA official argued, was unfair, and he asked lawmakers to cut the $107-per-employee figure so the RTA could use the savings on other transportation issues.

The good government way of looking at it is that the RTA is trying to make better use of state money by spending more on legitimate transportation needs and less on investigations.

But the Chicago Way of looking at it is: Can we please cut the investigative budget so the chumbolones don’t become upset by pesky inspectors going over patronage and contracts?

Remember, this was going on just before the Metra scandal began to unravel, with ousted CEO Alex Clifford complaining that he was under intense political pressure to make deals.

The April 10 letter was signed by RTA Executive Director Joseph Costello. But my favorite part was the last paragraph, inviting legislators to call a special RTA player.

“If you would like to discuss the RTA’s concerns further, I am available or feel free to contact Jordan Matyas, the RTA Chief of Staff at (312) 968-9600.”

Jordan Matyas, as loyal readers including Lisa Madigan know by now, is her brother-in-law. And he’s Boss Madigan’s son-in-law.

Now, I know some of you are harboring evil thoughts about this. But me? I always look on the sunny side of things when contracts, patronage and millions of taxpayer dollars are at stake.

It’s the kind of issue you’d expect Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the top law enforcement official in the state and the people’s champion, to sink her teeth into.

But she can’t sink her teeth into it because of the family connection, and what makes it worse is that Boss Madigan is at the center of the Metra hush-money scandal.

While Clifford was speaking before the RTA board on Wednesday, my loyal reader Lisa Madigan was facing reporters, determined not to answer their questions.

She was asked about her terrible Logic Deficit Disorder, something I’d written about that morning. That malady stems from her public assertion that she shouldn’t be governor while her father is speaker.

“By that logic,” asked veteran WLS-AM reporter Bill Cameron, “how is it good for the state to have an AG (attorney general) and speaker from the same family?”

“It sounds to me like you’ve been reading too much John Kass. Do you have an original question now?” snapped Lisa Madigan.

Too much John Kass? Madame Attorney General, is there such a thing?

She didn’t answer Cameron’s question.

“I think the results that we have produced out of the attorney general’s office for the people of Illinois over the last 101/2 years speak for themselves,” she said.

Really? What exactly do those results say?

Another reporter wondered if Boss Madigan ever asked her to hire someone or give someone a pay raise, and she offered another nonanswer.

“We receive resumes from people all over the state. I do not deal with the hiring in our office.”

Has your father ever asked you, though, to hire anyone in your office?

“I do not deal with the hiring in our office, so I do not directly take in resumes and evaluate resumes in our office.”

Madame Attorney General, would you please repeat that under oath?

Another question: Did she mislead political donors by hinting she’d run for governor but deciding to seek re-election as state attorney general?

“I was very open with everybody. I told them that I was in the process of evaluating how I could best serve the people of Illinois.”

Since it’s all about the people, Lisa, kindly return the cash.

Now Lisa Madigan wants to avoid the street fighting during this election cycle, be anointed AG for another term, and let others do the heavy lifting to solve the state’s terrible fiscal mess. And when it’s all over, she’ll waltz in on glass slippers and pick up a scepter.

But if she says she can’t possibly run for governor with her father as speaker, how can she remain as AG?


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