Kasperski doesn't expect 'hand-picked Democrats' on investigative committee to stand up to embattled House speaker.
“I would be astonished to see if any of the three hand-picked Democrats on this committee will turn on their boss,” Kasperski told the Lake County Gazette of the new special House committee created to look into some of the behavior of longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan and determine if disciplinary actions are warranted. “They have endorsed him for his positions of power and held their tongue as he used both to enrich his tax appeal law firm.”
In a year in which four Springfield Democrats have been indicted on corruption related charges, the committee was formed at the insistence of House Minority Leader Jim Durkin after Madigan was implicated in an ongoing federal probe involving utility giant ComEd and a pay-for-play scheme.
The six-member bipartisan committee is made up of three GOP lawmakers (state Reps. Tom Demmer of Dixon, Deanne Mazzochi of Elmhurst and Grant Wehrli of Naperville) and three Democrats (state Reps. Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside, Elizabeth Hernandez of Cicero and Natalie Manley of Joliet). A majority vote is needed for the probe to proceed to the next stage – a new committee empowered to determine potential sanctions that would then be voted on by the entire House. A two-thirds majority would be required for any discipline to be taken against Madigan, which could include expulsion.
Running against longtime incumbent state Sen. Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) in the 31st District, Kasperski insists he has other reasons for feeling the group might not be enough.
“The chairman of the committee has also indicated that this is not a legal proceeding, instead suggesting that it is purely political,” he said. “This does not give me much hope that they will do the right thing.”
Kasperski said Democrats have almost come to feel as if they can’t stand up to Madigan.
“The way that Madigan has stacked the deck in his favor by gerrymandering the districts and controlling the spending that is provided to each Democratic candidate and funding appropriation made to their districts deters any meaningful resistance from within the Illinois Democratic Party,” he said. “We need to reassemble our General Assembly by not rewarding any incumbent another term and the pay increase that comes with it.”
Kasperski said he takes much of Bush’s recent criticism of the state’s longest-tenured lawmaker with a grain of salt.
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