Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat who set much of Illinois’ political agenda as House speaker for four decades before his ouster last month, resigned his seat in the Legislature on Thursday.
Madigan, the longest-serving legislative leader in U.S. history, was tarnished by a federal bribery investigation announced last summer. Madigan — who was instrumental in turning Illinois solidly blue from the bellwether it had been for much of the 20th century — has not been charged in the federal probe and maintains his innocence. But after being implicated, he lost his bid for a 19th term as speaker to Hillside Democrat Emanuel “Chris” Welch.
In a statement Thursday, Madigan, 78, did not explicitly state the reason for his departure after holding the post for 50 years.
In a letter to the House clerk, Madigan offered his resignation effective Thursday. In the earlier statement, he said it would take effect at month’s end.
In July, Madigan was implicated in a long-running bribery scheme involving the state’s largest electric utility, ComEd. Court filings didn’t name Madigan but made it clear he was the person in documents referred to as “Public Official A.” ComEd admitted it secured jobs, often requiring little or no work, and contracts for his associates from 2011 to 2019 for favorable treatment in regulations.
ComEd agreed in August to pay $200 million, though that settlement did not preclude criminal charges against any individual.
Democratic committee members from Madigan’s district on Chicago’s southwest side have 30 days to choose his successor, who would serve until Madigan’s term expires in January 2023. Madigan has been a ward committeeman since 1969 and controls 56% of the weighted vote in choosing a replacement, a spokeswoman said.