Gov. Rauner says AG candidate "Erika Harold will prosecute Madig - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Gov. Rauner says AG candidate "Erika Harold will prosecute Madigan"

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WSIL — Controversial claims by Illinois Bruce Rauner put his handpicked attorney general candidate in a tough spot.

Rauner says that if elected attorney general, Erika Harold would prosecute Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan for corruption.

This despite no evidence of criminal wrongdoing and state laws blocking Harold from bringing charges. 

“I need her to win,” Rauner said in an interview with WJPF radio Thursday. “Lisa Madigan has defended the corruption of her dad. Erika Harold will prosecute Madigan and the corruption. She’s awesome.”

Madigan has been house speaker for more than three decades and one of Rauner’s chief political rivals during his term. 

But pursuing any prosecution would be challenging.

While there are some very narrow channels that could be taken, Illinois law generally bars the state attorney general from convening a grand jury for corruption charges.

In addition, while she’s said she will look to crack down on political corruption, Harold has said she won’t use her office to target political opponents. 

“By public corruption, I’m not talking about using the office as a way to punish political opponents,” Harold said in a January interview with WGLT Radio.

John Jackson with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute says its likely Rauner trying to excite Republicans in an election year.

“He’s firing up the base,” Jackson said. “I think he’s getting his bona fides established with the Republican party voters.”

And though Rauner often calls Speaker Madigan the most corrupt politician in America, there’s currently no evidence that he’s involved in any illegal activity. 

“He would have been in circuit court in Cook County and hauled before a grand jury if there was any evidence,” Jackson said. 

When asked what crime he believes Madigan has committed, Rauner didn’t point to anything specific, instead calling the speaker corrupt.

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