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HomeIllinois NewsDurkin says newly-found Madigan insider e-mail is "shocking" and "beyond words"

Durkin says newly-found Madigan insider e-mail is “shocking” and “beyond words”



Copy of email obtained by WBEZ radio

CHICAGO – A 2012 e-mail from a longtime close associate to House Speaker Mike Madigan to former Governor Pat Quinn's legislative affairs person attempting to preserve a state worker's job could be providing rare insight into how Madigan's powerful political machine has worked over the decades. 

Republican Illinois House Leader Jim Durkin says WBEZ's e-mail revelation is "shocking" and "beyond words." He's calling for an investigation. 

The email, obtained by Chicago public radio WBEZ through an open records request, was sent by ex-lobbyist Michael McClain to Quinn's legislative affairs rep Gary Hannig and copied to Quinn's chief of staff Jerry Stermer. In the email, McClain said the state worker at the time in Rushville, IL – Forrest Ashby – should not lose his job because he "kept his mouth shut" about a rape, was politically “loyal” to Quinn and stayed silent about “ghost workers.”

Soon after the worker's disciplinary hearing, Ashby reportedly landed a $5000 a month job on Pritzker's campaign.

From the WBEZ story: 

According to McClain’s email, Ashby was scheduled to appear at a disciplinary hearing in early August 2012 for what McClain characterized as relatively minor infractions. McClain asked Quinn’s legislative affairs liaison, Gary Hannig, and the then-governor’s chief-of-staff, Jerry Stermer, to safeguard Ashby’s job.

“Please do not let them fire him, my God in heaven,” McClain wrote to Hannig, who is a former Democratic state representative and also was a senior member of Madigan’s leadership team. Stermer was copied on McClain’s email, which was sent on July 31, 2012.

“But, Gary, for Gods [sic] sake do not let this disciplinary meeting get out of hand. This man is a good compliance person, as I told you. The AG’s office and the Sheriffs love working with him,” McClain wrote, referring apparently to the office of then-Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who is the House speaker’s daughter.

Then, McClain closed his email by making some stunning — though vague — references to other things he thought should count in Ashby’s favor.

“He has kept his mouth shut on Jones’ ghost workers, the rape in Champaign and other items,” McClain said of Ashby. “He is loyal to the Administration.”

Most of those mentioned or involved in the email's contents did not respond to WBEZ's request for responses. 

House MInority Leader Jim Durkin responded to WBEZ, saying, “This revelation is shocking and beyond words. I am disturbed by the fact that horrific and possible criminal actions may have occurred and government officials, Mike McClain and his enablers chose to stay silent instead of taking action."

Durkin then called for a "criminal investigation." 

“There needs to be an immediate criminal investigation into the content of McClain's email to the administration, and I encourage anyone with information on this to report it immediately to the proper authorities.”

Read the rest of the story on WBEZ's website HERE.


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  1. With “leadership” like Durkin, who was busy (along with his friends) voting for tax increases last year, no wonder Madigan & Co. can get away with anything. Until all incumbents are guilty until proven innocent, especially Republican incumbents, nothing will change in Ill-annoy. The inability to even get a token on the ballot in Republican primaries to do some exposure of do nothing but line their own pockets incumbents is the major reason why Illinois has gone down the drain. George Ryan, Lee Daniels and now Durkin—the list goes on and on about “Republican” leaders who “opposed” Madigan with nothing more than cynical backroom deals to get their share of the pork.