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Lisa Madigan
Quick Hit
by Adam Doster
Tue Aug 31, 2010

Missing The Forest For The Trees On Payday Loan Reform

Sun-Times' reporters Tim Novak and Dave McKinney did the voting public a service by exposing a loophole in Illinois' "statement of economic interest" disclosure form that allows political candidates to hide familial relationships with registered lobbyists. As the paper's editorial board writes, it's crucial that the state forces lawmakers to admit publicly who in their families could benefit from state laws. Unfortunately, the example they use to illustrate the problem is more complicated than they let on.

The reporters focus on the passage of HB 537, legislation that closed a major loophole in the 2005 Payday Loan Reform Act. Their narrative suggests that the Madigan family -- Attorney General Lisa Madigan, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), and lobbyist Jordan Matyas (who is married to the speaker's daughter Tiffany) -- concocted a diabolical scheme to create new business for Matyas, whose firm will soon track unsecured consumer installment loans for the state. It's true that Matyas' business will receive a boost from the regulatory change. It's also true that the Madigans should be forced to disclose that relationship. But the passage of the legislation was the culmination of a decade-long fight by consumer advocates to close up a loophole that predatory lenders had exploited egregiously at the expense of the state's working poor. Only in passing does the piece recognize that consumer advocates lobbied extremely hard for the bill. (It also passed the General Assembly almost unanimously.) Leaving out that side of the story does a disservice to the readers learning about the important (if watered-down) new law for the first time.

Quick Hit
by Adam Doster
Tue Jul 6, 2010

Madigan On CFPA Shortlist? (UPDATED)

In the most interesting political rumor of the day, the Wall Street Journal listed Attorney General Lisa Madigan as a possible director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, if and when Congress finally approves the financial reform package.

If named, Madigan would probably thrive in the roll. She's spent the bulk of her tenure as the state's lead attorney fighting on behalf of consumers, whether those exploited by mortgage lenders, utility companies, polluters, or low-cost lenders. Indeed, she was a high-profile advocate of creating the bureau in the first place.

But would she take the job? Back when her name came up as a potential U.S. Senate candidate, she took her name out of the running, citing family implications.

UPDATE (7/7): Madigan threw some cold water on the rumor last night, recommending Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren for the post.

PI Original
by Adam Doster
Mon Jun 28, 2010

Illinois' Top Cops: It's Time For Immigration Reform (VIDEO)

Local law enforcement figures, including Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, are frustrated that Congress won't reform the nation's broken immigration system.

Quick Hit
by Adam Doster
Tue May 11, 2010

Madigan Warns (Again) About Preempting State Financial Regulation

As the GOP (and the bank lobbyists on which they rely) try to chip away at the U.S. Senate financial reform bill, rumors are swirling that lawmakers may strike a deal forcing federal regulators at the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency to preempt stronger state consumer financial protections. In the House, Rep. Melissa Bean led the charge for such language, finally agreeing on a compromise measure to allow for preemption on a case-by-case basis. Now, if the bankers get their way, the Senate may limit the reach of state laws even more. "This essentially takes cops off the beat," writes FireDogLake's David Dayen, "at a time when we should be adding them."

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan fought Bean's effort last winter. On Friday, she released another strong statement warning the Senate to proceed with caution. "In a time of global economic crisis," she said, "we clearly need more enforcers of consumer protection laws, not fewer." Read it here.

Quick Hit
by Adam Doster
Mon Apr 19, 2010

Madigan Makes Slate's SCOTUS Shortlist

The Lisa Madigan/Supreme Court speculation continues, thanks to a Slate survey that lists her as one of 22 potential nominees to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.  In an interview with the Sun-Times' Abdon Pallasch over the weekend, the Attorney General downplayed her chances but said "it's flattering to even be mentioned as someone who might be considered." Pallasch, however, predicts that she would face little resistance if nominated. While pro-choice, she has backed Illinois' abortion parental notification law, arguing that local officials must enforce the state statute. "[Conservatives] can criticize her for being the daughter of a powerful politician," Pallasch adds, "but they won't be able to point to any scandals in the attorney general's office under her tenure."