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  Boss Madigan's shadow campaign relies on the Madigan 12
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ContributorImperator 
Last EditedImperator  Oct 28, 2010 05:55am
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CategoryPerspective
AuthorJohn Kass
MediaNewspaper - Chicago Tribune
News DateWednesday, October 27, 2010 11:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionIsn't it curious that the most important race in Illinois is flying under the radar?

It's so under the radar that it's not even on the ballot.

The races for governor or senator are drawing all the heat and the hype. But there's another campaign in the shadows, hidden by design. The insiders don't want you to focus on this shadow campaign, or even be aware that it exists. But it's the most important of all:

Speaker of the Illinois House.

The speaker controls the money, and every bit of legislation. The speaker picks who wins and who loses in the great game of Who Gets What.

And for 25 of the last 27 years, as Illinois groans under the weight of a $13 billion budget deficit, the speaker has been Mike Madigan, the low-key but ruthless Chicago ward boss.

Boss Madigan runs the Illinois Democratic Party. He's said to have made a fortune as a tax-reduction lawyer, shaving property taxes for big downtown landowners. His political underlings rule on tax appeals. It may be legal, but Madigan's conflict of interest stinks worse than that package of catfish you forgot in your car in July.

And he's planning on installing his daughter, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, as governor in four years, once the next governor raises income taxes so Lisa can spend them. Her campaign for something begins Nov. 3.

Yet for all this, Madigan is not accountable. Voters don't cast ballots for Madigan as speaker. Instead, voters elect Democratic state representatives. He controls them like obedient puppies, and they wag their tails and make him speaker and try not to wet the carpet.
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