Mike Madigan indicted: Were elections supported by tainted money from former IL House Speaker?

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Mike Madigan indictment is raising questions about whether some elections two years ago were supported by tainted money from Madigan.

One Republican who lost his seat talked about his race and his hopes for change. Grant Wehrli had six words to describe his reaction to the indictment against Mike Madigan.

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"Long time coming, great day for Illinois," said Wehrli, a former Republican state representative from Naperville who said he was not surprised. "Not in least," he said.

Wehrli, who called himself a thorn in this side of Madigan, was bounced from office in 2020 by a Madigan-backed newcomer, Janet Yang Rohr. Wehrli believes he lost because of ill-gotten gains Madigan funneled to Yang Rohr.

"100%, you look at the amount of money, $2.6 million dollars that was spent to remove me from office by Speaker Madigan and how he obtained those dollars, absolutely I'm convinced it's ill-gotten gains," Wehrli said.

Madigan's neighbors, constituents have mixed feelings on indictment

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For Mike Madigan's Chicago neighbors and constiutents, reaction to his indictment was mixed.

In the indictment, the feds referred to the racketeering and bribery activity as the "Madigan Enterprise," accusing Madigan of using his position "to influence and garner loyalty from legislators by providing or withholding staff and funding to legislators and their campaigns."
Yang Rohr, who voted against Madigan in his failed bid for Speaker last year, denied her election was tainted by his financial largesse.

"I believe the race was absolutely fair and the election results were fair," she said.

READ MORE: Mike Madigan's former chief of staff Tim Mapes indicted for allegedly lying to grand jury

House Republican Floor Leader Mark Batinick had to fend off a total of $6 million in Madigan money in the last two election cycles.

"The way he had his power was by electing more members. And by having more members he can control more legislation, which would help them raise more money to elect more members," Batinick said. "It's oftentimes called a protection racket. And members were beholden to him because he would provide the protection money for them."

Madigan has denied any wrongdoing.

Wehrli and Batinick hope the indictment will lead to tougher ethics legislation, as well a new law to allow for recall elections to give more power back to voters.
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