CHICAGO – Speaking publicly for the first time since announcing she wouldn't run for Illinois governor, Attorney General Lisa Madigan was tight-lipped Wednesday about what conversations – if any – she had with her politically powerful father before she made her decision.
Madigan ended months of speculation Monday when she said she wouldn't challenge Gov. Pat Quinn, a fellow Democrat, in 2014. In an emailed statement, she said she never planned to run if her father, longtime House Speaker Michael Madigan, remained in his job. The comment raised questions about whether the speaker — who has held his position for 28 of his 42 years in the Illinois House — had contemplated stepping down so his daughter could run.
Asked Wednesday whether they had discussed that possibility, Lisa Madigan wouldn't say.
"As you can imagine there's a process I went through in terms of evaluating how I could best continue to serve the people of the state of Illinois," she said during an unrelated event in Chicago. "Obviously that involved private conversations that I will not be going through with you publicly."
Steve Brown, spokesman for Michael Madigan, declined to comment when asked the same question.
Lisa Madigan's comments came on the same day the Regional Transportation Authority heard testimony from the former CEO of the Metra commuter rail service about his dealings with Illinois politicians, including Michael Madigan. Alex Clifford has said Michael Madigan asked Clifford's staffers to give a pay raise to a Metra employee who was a contributor to political campaigns benefiting the speaker. Clifford said the request — revealed late last week during an inquiry into Clifford's $718,000 severance — betrayed a "moral and ethical flaw," but Brown said Madigan did nothing improper.
Asked if her father had ever asked her to hire someone or give someone a raise, Lisa Madigan repeatedly said she doesn't deal with hiring.
She also said she didn't see a problem with the state having an attorney general and House speaker from the same family, even though she said Monday that "the state would not be well served" by such an arrangement if it involved a governor and the speaker.
"I don't think there's any question about the record that I've had serving as attorney general," Madigan said, noting she has collected billions of dollars for the state through legal actions, such as a national settlement with mortgage with the country's five largest bank mortgage servicers accused of fraudulent foreclosure proceedings.