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Doug Finke

Rauner: Let AG charge speaker

But governor doesn't identify any 'crimes' by Mike Madigan

But governor doesn't identify any 'crimes' by Mike Madigan

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday said the state’s attorney general should be prosecuting House Speaker Michael Madigan, although he was vague about what.

At a Statehouse bill-signing ceremony, Rauner was asked about his comments earlier in the day that Erika Harold will go after the speaker if elected. Harold is the Republican candidate for attorney general. She is facing Democrat Kwame Raoul.

“I’m giving her a million dollars, which is a lot of money for me,” Rauner said during an interview on a southern Illinois radio station Thursday morning. “I need her to win. [Current attorney general] Lisa Madigan has defended the corruption of her dad. Erika Harold will prosecute Madigan and the corruption.”

But Rauner couldn’t say what crimes he thinks the speaker has committed. Rauner again complained that Madigan’s law firm does property tax appeals work. Rauner said that is wrong when policies set by the General Assembly can affect property taxes.

“He’s on both sides of that,” Rauner said. “It’s corrupt. It’s a fundamental conflict of interest.”

However, it is not illegal. Rauner said it should be.

Harold spokesman Aaron DeGroot said Harold “will investigate and pursue any allegation of wrongdoing or corruption at any level of government in Illinois as attorney general.”

He also said Harold has called for lawmakers to give the office additional authority to crack down on public corruption, such as authority to convene a statewide grand jury and issue subpoenas.

Rauner also criticized Lisa Madigan for failing to root out corruption.

“Our attorney general has defended the current system, defended conflicts of interest,” Rauner said. “We need someone who will challenge the status quo, investigate wrongdoing, investigate possible illegal activity [and] certainly investigate unethical activity.”

Madigan’s office declined to comment.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker criticized Rauner while preparing to walk in Thursday’s Illinois State Fair Twilight Parade.

“Well, the failed governor is off on another rant. The fact is that there are no facts involved in anything that he’s said,” Pritzker said. “I’m very, very proud of the Democratic ticket and [state Sen. and attorney general candidate] Kwame Raoul, and the fact that we’re going to have an independent group of Democrats that are going to get elected and run this state.”

Rauner also blamed the presence of Republican candidates with fringe views being on the ballot on “the rigged system.”

“It’s hard to get people to run in races in districts that have been rigged for the incumbent under our gerrymandered system by Speaker Madigan,” Rauner said.

An avowed Nazi is running as a Republican in the Third Congressional District in Cook County. And Republican Party officials have disowned a GOP candidate running in the 17th Congressional District who holds conspiracy theories about 9/11 and the Sandy Hook school shooting.

The district is currently represented by Democrat Cheri Bustos, although President Donald Trump carried the district in 2016.

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