Madigan: ‘Haven’t had a chance’ to read critical transit report

By Dave McKinney – Chicago Sun-Times – April 1 2014

SPRINGFIELD — House Speaker Michael Madigan said Tuesday he’s been far too busy to have had any time to pore through a critical new report that alleged he dictated patronage hiring at Metra for decades.

The transit task force report, whose ethics recommendations were overseen by former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, named the Southwest Side Democrat and said he recommended dozens of hires dating back to the middle-1970s.

The report also specifically questioned the hiring of Madigan’s son-in-law, Jordan Matyas, at the Regional Transportation Authority, saying it “damages the agency’s credibility as a solution to the problem of patronage.”

In his first public reaction to the report from Gov. Pat Quinn’s task force, Madigan told reporters Tuesday he hadn’t invested any time reading the 94-page document, which the speaker’s spokesperson Monday ridiculed as “amateurish.”

“I haven’t had a chance to read it because I’ve been busy on this constitutional amendment,” the speaker said during a brief exchange with reporters following passage by a House panel of his proposed ballot initiative to bar voter-suppression tactics.

“But we plan to work cooperatively with Chairman Al Riley of the House Mass Transit Committee on any recommendations concerning mass transit,” Madigan said, referring to the four-term Democrat from Olympia Fields.

Pressed on whether he shared the view of his spokesman, Steve Brown, that the report’s conclusions relating to him were “amateurish,” the speaker sidestepped the question.

“I would just say my plan is to refer any matter that affects mass transit to the House Mass Transit Committee chairman Al Riley. Have you met him?” Madigan asked Early & Often. “He said he’d like to spend some time getting to know you a little better.”

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