In 3 months, Madigan spent more than $445K in legal fees
Records show funds for final quarter of 2019
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan spent more than $445,000 in legal fees from his political war chest during the closing months of 2019, according to a filing with the state board of elections.
The spending is to cover the cost of a $275,000 settlement with a former campaign worker, ongoing civil cases and routine staff training, according to a Madigan spokeswoman.
The $275,000 settlement was in the case brought by former campaign worker Alaina Hampton, with $75,000 going to her and the rest going to attorneys, Madigan spokeswoman Eileen Boyce said.
Hampton filed a federal case against Madigan-controlled campaign committees over allegations of sexual harassment by one of his top lieutenants and allegations that the speaker’s Democratic team had blackballed her.
The settlement allowed the Madigan operations to avoid admitting liability.
The bulk of the rest of the money, including $139,209 to the Chicago office of Hinshaw & Culbertson and $6,500 to attorney Michael Kasper, cover costs tied to four civil cases, Boyce said. Those include the Hampton case; a case brought by Jason Gonzales, who challenged Madigan’s 2016 campaign tactics; and two cases arising from David Krupa’s 2019 challenge to Madigan’s handpicked Ald. Marty Quinn, 13th, Boyce said.
Fees paid to Fox Swibel Levin & Carroll are related to training expenses, Boyce said.
The legal fees were listed in the quarterly report of the speaker’s campaign account Friends of Michael J Madigan filed late Wednesday night.
It includes spending from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.
Regardless of the controversies surrounding Madigan, the powerful veteran remains a major fundraising force, the campaign finance reports showed.
Madigan controls four different political funds, which raised a combined $8.5 million between October and December.
As of Jan. 1, the Friends of Michael J. Madigan, the Democratic Party of Illinois, the Democratic Majority fund and the 13th Ward Democratic organization had $21.1 million in cash on hand.
Madigan holds a 10-to-1 advantage in campaign funds over House Republican leader Jim Durkin. From October to December, the political funds that Durkin controls raised more than $767,000, and they held just under $2 million in cash available to start the year.
Madigan wasn’t the only Chicago politician making payments for legal fees during 2019’s closing months.
Ald. Edward Burke, who’s facing federal corruption charges, reported spending more than $414,000 on legal fees. Most of that went to law firms Jenner & Block and Loeb & Loeb.
He spent nearly $400,000 in campaign funds on the high-powered legal defense team handling his public corruption case during the previous quarter.
Legal expenses were also reported by several legislators caught up in the ongoing federal corruption investigations that have shaken the Illinois political firmament.
Sen. Tom Cullerton’s campaign fund reported a $25,000 payment in October to Daniel Collins, his attorney in the federal case. Cullerton, a Villa Park Democrat, was indicted last year on embezzlement charges alleging he pocketed almost $275,000 in salary and benefits from the Teamsters union despite doing little or no work. He has pleaded not guilty,
Ex-state Rep. Luis Arroyo’s campaign fund reimbursed his wife, Maribel, $10,000 for legal fees paid with personal funds, records show.
Arroyo resigned his seat Nov. 1, one week after he was arrested on a federal bribery charge. He is accused of paying a bribe to a state senator in exchange for support of a gambling bill that would have benefited one of Arroyo’s lobbying clients.
Former state Sen. Martin Sandoval’s campaign fund paid $90,000 in legal fees for the quarter, including $70,000 to Freeborn & Peters and $20,000 to Thompson Hine, records show. Sandoval’s offices were raided last fall by agents looking for information involving lobbyists, gambling interests, a red-light camera company, and transportation and construction companies, according to documents. Sandoval, who resigned effective Jan. 1, has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Additionally, Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski, who is also mayor of McCook, listed $100,000 in legal fees to the
Evanston firm of Blaine & Vanzant. A search warrant for a raid on McCook’s village headquarters indicated authorities were after a range of evidence including information about a clout-heavy suburban contractor, a local strip club, the town’s police chief, and heating and air conditioning work done on the home of Tobolski. Tobolski has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
House Speaker Michael Madigan speaks after a House Democratic caucus meeting at the state Capitol.