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GOP demands ethics reforms after Madigan’s chief of staff gets 30 month sentence

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(The Center Square) – Following the two-and-a-half year prison sentence a federal judge in Chicago handed down Monday to former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s chief of staff and House clerk, Illinois Republicans are demanding more ethics reforms.

Tim Mapes served as Madigan’s chief of staff and House clerk for years during Madigan’s decades in power. While Madigan, D-Chicago, will still face trial in a nearly decade-long bribery scheme federal prosecutors called “Madigan Enterprise,” Mapes was found guilty in August of lying about what he knew. He was sentenced Monday to two-and-a-half years in prison.

“Mr. Mapes was very aware of what was going on,” U.S. District Court Judge John Kness said during sentencing Monday. “This was a serious offense. There’s no way around it, you lied to the grand jury.”

Mapes’ verdict and sentencing follows the guilty verdict of four former Commonwealth Edison employees and close Madigan confidants.

Republicans have long pushed for ethics reforms at the Illinois Statehouse.

“Tim Mapes shouldn’t need to be reminded of that basic child’s lesson to know that lying under oath to a grand jury is a bad idea,” state Rep. Ryan Spain, R-Peoria, said in a statement Monday. “It’s even worse when done to cover up for unethical leaders who are supposed to serve the best interests of Illinois citizens. Let’s continue to hold corrupt politicians accountable going forward in Illinois.”

Among measures Republicans say can hold corrupt elected officials accountable is a measure prohibiting elected officials from using political campaign donations to pay for criminal defense.

“That certainly would be one,” said House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, R-Savanna.

Madigan, who’s trial has been postponed from April to October, has spent $8.4 million from his campaign fund on legal fees.

Among other reforms Republicans say are needed include giving the Legislative Inspector General more independence to investigate wrongdoing faster than federal or state prosecutors can reveal.

“Expanding the authority of the Legislative Inspector General is huge,” said state Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb. “Giving the Inspector General the authority to subpoena without the approval of the Legislative Ethics Commission.”

Another measure Republicans say is important is a bill to suspend a retired member of the General Assembly’s annuity payments if they are charged with a felony.

Madigan is receiving a pension of about $12,600 a month while he awaits trial.

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