Laib: Madigan money to lawmakers 'compromises the independence of an independent'
The receiver and giver in transactions between Illinois' powerful State House speaker and lawmakers who get millions from him is a matter of perspective, the Republican candidate for the 86th District House seat said during a recent interview.
"I would be surprised to learn that any Illinois legislators are actually 'taking' money from Speaker Mike Madigan," life-long Joliet resident Rick Laib told the Will County Gazette. "Rather, it seems they are 'receiving' money from him."
What is clear from all perspectives is the transactions infringe upon lawmakers' objectivity, Laib said.
"Whether it be from Mr. Madigan or another entity, this type of influential giving seems all too prevalent in politics and presumably compromises the independence of an independent."
Independence apparently can be bought for millions of dollars in Illinois, according to a recent study. The Illinois Policy Institute study released earlier this month cited campaign finance records and found more than 60 sitting state representatives pocketed almost $15 million from Madigan "over the course of their careers."
"In turn, they often give him one of the most important votes he needs to maintain power: the vote for speaker of the House," the Illinois Policy Institute said. "Business as usual in Springfield typically begins and ends with the same person: House Speaker Mike Madigan."
Madigan, the longest-serving House speaker in U.S. history and the nation's most powerful state legislative leader, officially represents a relatively small legislative House district, the 22nd. The district, with about 20,000 voters, compared to about 12.8 million Illinoisans, is entirely within Chicago.
Laib, whose credentials include paramilitary and church service, is a U.S. Army Reserves veteran who has served on the Will County Sheriff's Department's SWAT team and Honor Guard. He is challenging incumbent Rep. Lawrence Walsh Jr. (D-Elwood) in November's general election. Walsh has represented the district since 2012. Both Laib and Walsh were unopposed during the primaries in March.
The Illinois 86th State House District is entirely within Will County, and includes much of Joliet and Channahon.
Laib didn't call for campaign funding limits during his Will County Gazette Interview.
"Placing giving limitations on candidates might appear attractive, but it seems to me this would best be a place for a conversation on term limits for legislators," Laib said. "With term limits, this type of control and influence yielded from campaign giving would be restricted."