Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said Wednesday that he never had any intentions to step down even as his daughter, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, weighed a possible bid for governor.
The statement by the powerful Southwest Side Democrat adds some less-than-flattering context to his daughter’s assertion last month that she “never planned to run for governor” while her father served as speaker.
“Lisa and I had spoken about that on several occastions, and she knew very well that I did not plan to retire,” Speaker Madigan told reporters Wednesday before delivering remarks at a closed-door meeting of real estate appraisers gathered in the Union Leauge Club of Chicago. “She knew what my position was. She knew.”
For months, the attorney general had been mulling a possible Democratic primary challenge to Gov. Pat Quinn, but announced in July that she instead would seek a fourth term as the state’s top lawyer. As she weighed her options, she raised a lot of campaign money. Later, she denied that she ever misled donors who hoped she might challenge Quinn, saying she was upfront that she hadn’t yet made up her mind.
In announcing her decision not to run for governor, she placed much of the blame on her father, citing a conflict of interest should the governor and speaker be related.
“I feel strongly that the state would not be well served by having a Governor and Speaker of the House from the same family and have never planned to run for Governor if that would be the case,” the attorney general said in a statement issued at the time. “With Speaker Madigan planning to continue in office, I will not run for Governor.”
The decision came amid increasing scrutiny of Speaker Madigan’s invovlement at an ongoing scandal at Metra, where former CEO Alex Clifford has said he was forced out after refusing to give into patronage demands made by the speaker.
Speaker Madigan maintains he did nothing wrong, and has requested a legislative ethics panel look into the matter. Quinn has said he wants to appoint a panel to look at oversight of the Regional Transportation Authority and Metra, an inquiry Madigan on Wednesday said he would welcome.
The attorney general’s campaign office declined to comment Wednesday.