Saturday, February 25, 2012

Illinois GOP wants us to dump all over Lisa Madigan; what else is new?

MADIGAN: Doing her job!
Somebody needs to have a serious sit-down with Illinois Republican Chairman Pat Brady to explain to him the way in which lawyers and government work. Because it is clear from his rhetoric on Friday that he’s taking advantage of people who don’t have a clear concept – all so he can score some cheap political points.

Brady on Friday issued a statement that is meant to get the GOP faithful all worked up over the indictment this week of Cook County Board member Bill Beavers – who got hit on assorted tax charges.

DA FEDS. THE G. The I.R.S., to be specific. In short, the federal government is going after Beavers for the way in which he did not (allegedly) report his use of campaign contributions and county expense accounts for personal purposes.

In his statement, Brady wants to know why Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan didn’t catch Beavers first.

He says she has “not undertaken any significant public corruption investigations in her nine years in office,” and wants us to think of the highly-qualified daughter of the speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives as some sort of incompetent boob.

“It is mind-boggling that in a state where the last two governors stand convicted of corruption, that ranks as the third-most corrupt state in the country, and is home to Chicago, ranked as the most corrupt city in the country that our chief law enforcement officer has yet to undertake any significant public corruption investigations in her nearly 10 years in office,” Brady said.


Despite all the nonsensical uses of forms of the word “corrupt” in that last part of his statement, there is one thing that Brady states that is just flat-out wrong.

The Illinois attorney general is NOT the “chief law enforcement officer” in this state.

Her office does contain some functions that cause its collections of legal minds to get involved in criminal law on occasion. But the attorneys on the state payroll mostly deal in matters of civil law.

IF ANYTHING, LISA Madigan is the attorney for Illinois state government. When the state gets sued, she is the one who represents it. When the state’s agencies with some enforcement powers decide to take someone to court, it is Madigan’s staff of attorneys who handle the legal brawl.

It is probably most accurate to think of the Illinois attorney general’s office as the law firm used by state government – and Lisa Madigan as its administrator.

People who want to think that she’s packing a badge in her purse and is prepared to whip it out and start arresting people really are missing the point of what her authority is.

So the idea that Madigan would be finding a reason to investigate Beavers, or any of the other political hacks who have wound up finding themselves astray with the law, isn’t quite right.

THERE’S ALSO THE fact that the acts that Beavers (and, in fact, many of those who have been caught up in various government corruption probes) have done things that are explicit violations of federal law. That is particularly true of Beavers – whose actions to bolster his own pension and use his county expense account are completely legal, in and of themselves.

It is the fact that Beavers is alleged to have not acknowledged his use of the money as additional personal income, and may have filed his income tax returns in a way to try to cover up this use, that is the crime the feds say Beavers committed.

If Madigan’s aides had come across some sort of evidence that Beavers had done this, their proper course of action would have been to turn it over to the I.R.S. so their investigators could handle the matter.

It wouldn’t have been to take a show-boating stance on the matter to try to gain attention for herself. That would have been inappropriate – and the ideologues who Brady is trying to reach out to are usually the first to get upset about governments stepping on each other’s jurisdictions – but only if it is a Republican-leaning government that is being told what to do by someone else.

WHICH IS TO say that Brady’s rhetoric is nothing more than nonsense. He wants people who might not spend every waking hour studying the finer nuances of differing levels of government to think that something is being mishandled – when, in reality, nothing is.

I realize that Brady is a political operative whose “job” is to get people all worked up to the point where they would actually consider voting for Republican candidates for elective office.

But just because Pat feels the need to spew a line or two of trash-talk to try to gain himself some attention in the feeding frenzy that will take place with regards to the Bill Beavers story does NOT mean we, the people of Illinois, ought to feel the least bit obligated to take his talk the least bit seriously!


EDITOR’S NOTE: The Capitol Fax newsletter on Friday asked people to express their view on whether Pat Brady’s attack on Lisa Madigan was “fair.” The Illinois GOP used their Facebook site to direct people to the newsletter so that they could say it was.

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