Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy said this week House Speaker Michael Madigan should step down as head of the Democratic Party at least temporarily, while state Sen. Daniel Biss said he hopes Madigan’s firing of the aide accused of harassment isn’t just political damage control. Frontrunner J.B. Pritzker has been more tentative in his response.
The speaker fired Kevin Quinn earlier this week after Madigan’s lawyer spent three months investigating accusations that Quinn harassed a campaign staffer.
Biss says he believes the speaker's political power prevented an adequate investigation.
“I’ve been saying that Speaker Madigan has been in power for too long, and is too powerful for a very, very long time. I think we need to make sure there is a thorough investigation, an investigation where a woman that’s come forward is respected and trusted.”
But Pritzker, despite repeated questions, continued to say he needed to know the exact facts before weighing in. Finally, after being pressed, he said investigations like these "shouldn’t take that long.”
Through his attorney, Madigan is defending the three-month investigation into Alaina Hampton’s allegations of harassment by Quinn. The attorney said she needed that much time to gather all the facts.
Several politicians have called for Madigan's resignation, including attorney general candidate Scott Drury, but the speaker says he has no plans to step down.
Gubernatorial candidate Bob Daiber said he can’t criticize Madigan on the investigation’s delay because he believes in due process.