Since I launched this podcast, I’ve gotten questions that cover a pretty broad range of topics in Illinois government. But there’s one topic—one particularly notorious individual—that folks are really curious about. I heard from 6 people who all asked more or less the same question about House Speaker Mike Madigan: How did he get so much power? And how does he keep it? To answer this question, we’ll take a history lesson in machine politics, we’ll learn a little something about partisan gerrymandering, and we’ll follow the money in campaign finance. Finally, we’ll consider what Madigan’s legacy might be, whenever he leaves office.
We didn’t want to bore you with too much money talk in this episode. But if you’re curious to learn more about Madigan’s campaign finances and his financial supporters, you should spend some time poking around illinoissunshine.org. Here’s where you’ll find information about each of the four finance committees he controls:
Madigan: Power. Privilege. Politics. A thorough and interesting documentary by the conservative think tank Illinois Policy Institute. Keep in mind that IPI is fiercely anti-Madigan.
The Chicago Magazine’s 2013 profile: Mike Madigan is the King of Illinois
Illinois Policy Institute looks at how the House rules give Madigan more power. (They fail to mention that these rules were actually adopted by Republican leadership in the 90s, not by Madigan. But it's still important info.)
Question Askers: Hilary Clifford, Eliana Sigel-Epstein, Christine Schmidt, Ben Taylor, Theo Anderson, and Bob Kibble
Jig of Slurs. Dublin Reel. by Slainte from the Free Music Archive
Democratic Circus by Talking Heads
Luck Be A Lady (Karaoke Version) by Frank Loesser
Washington On Your Side by Lin-Manuel Miranda
C.R.E.A.M. instrumental by Wu Tang Clan