Suppose there was a popular restaurant in Springfield called Madigan's, it was so popular that they could charge top dollar for all their dishes, so popular that you couldn't get in without a reservation, and you couldn't get a reservation unless you were somebody or knew somebody, and even then you still had to slip the maître d' a C-note to get seated.
Once you did get in you'd drop a bundle, knowing that you'd get your money's worth, be treated really well, and have everything you ordered served to you just the way you wanted it, and promptly. You'd leave a big tip for the waiter, too, to make sure he and the rest of the staff would be glad to see you next time and treat you like a regular.
There is a Madigan's in Springfield, but it's not a restaurant. It's the Illinois House of Representatives. Mike Madigan is not the owner and proprietor exactly, but he might as well be, because he sure acts like it.
As speaker of the House and chairman of the state Democratic Party, Madigan runs the place and the Democratic representatives work for him.
When someone like John Simmons, Randy Gori, or Tom Keefe shows up, they get the royal treatment. That's because they've been there before, come in often, and tip lavishly.
In just the last six weeks, the law firms of Simmons, Gori, and Keefe have dropped nearly $800,000 – more than three-quarters of a million bucks – on the election campaigns of Illinois Democrats.
Each firm gave $10,800 to Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, $32,400 to Rep. Emily Klunk-McAsey of Romeoville and Rep. Katherine Cloonen of Kankakee, and $30,000 to Reps. Kathleen Willis of Northlake, Martin Moylan of Des Plaines, Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg, and Natalie Manley of Joliet.
The list goes on and includes contributions to the state party, the House campaign fund, and Madigan himself.
They must like the service.