Lawmakers meet for budget, talk memo

CHICAGO A memo written by House Speaker Mike Madigan was on everyone's minds. It lays out reasons to begin impeachment proceedings against the governor.

The clock is ticking on the June 30 deadline for a state budget and the need for a capital spending plan. In the wake of those pressures comes a memo issues by speaker Madigan's office offering advice on impeaching Blagojevich. Some believe it is an unnecessary distraction.

They are the top decision makers in Springfield, Democrats and Republicans meeting in Governor Blagojevich's Chicago office to try to work out an agreement on a capitol bill and a state budget. But much of the talk is about Madigan, who was not there and the memo he circulated with talking points about impeaching the governor.

"If I'm the governor, I probably don't like the document. But I think it points out, it begs the question, who can you trust when the speaker clearly sets out in a document a scheme to have his members lie to the public," said Rep. Tom Cross, (R) 84th District.

The 14-page memo offers advice to Democratic candidates on how to answer questions about a possible impeachment. One suggested line says, "One thing we learned from the George Ryan case is that we should excise a tumor when it is first discovered."

The governor and speaker have been feuding for some time. But this memo breaks the hostility out into the open. And some suggest that could hurt Madigan's credibility in the long run.

"That memo, I believe, is simply a way to put up distractions so we don't get to the real issues, that is, create jobs and the economy in the state and solving the $2 billion deficit," said Rep. Jay Hoffman, (D) 112th District.

The controversy over the memo is overshadowing the lack of progress on a capitol bill and a budget agreement. Madigan ally Barbara Flynn Curry says she has yet to read the memo.

"He doesn't want to focus on the budget. He's manufacturing a crisis. There is no crisis. Keep state government open, figure out what he wants to do with the budget and do it.," she said.

"We should be dealing with the serious business passing the capital bill," said Sen. Emil Jones, Senate President.

While Madigan's office is circulating the memo, they are also distancing themselves from it. In fact, one point suggests that candidates not link any talk of impeachment to Madigan. Officially the speaker says he is neutral on the issue because he could be called to preside over an impeachment hearing in the house.

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