(The Center Square) – With another black eye on Illinois politics with the conviction of Michael Madigan’s former chief of staff, Republicans are calling for changes.
Tim Mapes was convicted of perjury for lying to a grand jury to protect his former boss. He faces a maximum of 25 years in prison in the case with a sentencing date of Jan. 10.
“This conviction should stand as a clear message to witnesses who choose to violate their oath to tell the truth before a grand jury that they will be held accountable,” acting U.S. Attorney Morris Pasqual said in a statement.
State Rep. Patrick Windhorst, R-Metropolis, said the trial revealed the iron grip longtime former House Speaker Madigan had on Mapes and the state legislature.
“Even when offered immunity, all he had to do was tell the truth to escape prosecution, but instead he lied,” Windhorst said. “That shows the amount of control and power speaker Madigan had.”
Madigan himself faces a criminal trial next year on 22 corruption-related counts that federal prosecutors allege was a nearly decade-long scheme with utility ComEd. The allegation was that Madigan and others personally benefited from ComEd contracts in exchange for legislation favorable to the utility. Four people connected with Madigan were found guilty of the bribery scheme earlier this year.
State Rep. Ryan Spain, R-Peoria, said the juries in the ComEd bribery case and the Mapes perjury trial sent a message.
“They are fed up with the corruption, the reputation of Illinois, and the bad actions that have taken place all throughout state government,” Spain said.
Spain notes that the legislature was in session when the ComEd 4 were convicted of bribery, but Democrats wanted little to do with addressing ethics reforms.
“The governor has been silent on this topic, much more work needs to happen, and how many more guilty convictions need to be delivered by the federal court before legislators will start cleaning up the mess that continues to exist from 50 years of Mike Madigan’s ruling of the state of Illinois,” Spain said.
Spain is calling on the governor to call a special session of the legislature to address corruption in Illinois government.
State Rep. Kevin Schmidt, R-Millstadt, said the guilty verdict in the Mapes corruption trial is something that should alarm every resident of Illinois.
“Our laws are too lax and there are no consequences at the state level for corruption. If it were not for federal prosecutors, Mike Madigan would still be Speaker of the House,” Schmidt said in a statement.