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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — The criticism of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) by Republicans is on the rise.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Marsett reports, the Associated Press reports political observers are saying it is part of an effort to make Madigan a top campaign issue this fall.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Marsett reports
Right now, Madigan and other state officials are trying to negotiate cuts to government pensions. State Republican Chairman Pat Brady said Madigan is trying to stick suburban taxpayers with the bill for his own bad decisions on pensions.
At the Illinois Republican Party state convention last weekend, Brady said, “We are under the thumb of a controlling, vindictive, ethically challenged, self-serving leprechaun, and I mean no disrespect to leprechauns.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), speaking at the same event, said: “He is a king. He is a tyrant. He is corrupt. Say it! Say it! My God, I don’t know why we’re afraid to say that. Michael Madigan is corrupt.”
Last week, the party sent out a mock Father’s Day letter from Attorney General Lisa Madigan to the speaker.
“Dear Daddy….I mean Mr. Speaker,” it said. “You are the greatest dad ever. You got me this cool Attorney General job, and that was after you got me that neat state senate seat.”
The heated rhetoric has even made its way onto the House floor. In debate over the state pension reform bill late last month, state Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro), launched into a tirade as he complained about the amount of power Madigan wields..
“Total power in one person’s hands – not the American way!” Bost said.
He proceeded to throw several sheets of paper in the air and punch them as they landed.
“These damn bills that come out here all the damn time, come out here at the last second!” Bost said as he threw the papers on the floor. “I’ve got to figure out how to vote for my people!”
“You should be ashamed of yourselves! I’m sick of it!” Bost went on. “Every year! We give power to one person! It was not made that way in the Constitution! He was around when it was written! Now we give him – we’ve passed rules that stop each one of us! Enough! I feel like somebody trying to be released from Egypt! Let my people go!”
Political rhetoric could increase tensions at the bargaining table, but a Madigan aide says it won’t.
Brady says Republicans are simply calling attention to the speaker’s tremendous influence over state policies.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)