Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch.
Is it a new day or the same old, same old?
Since he was elected Illinois House speaker last year, Emanuel “Chris” Welch has pledged to banish the self-interest, clout and corruption that has dominated our politics for decades.
But recent campaign contributions to Welch’s wife are raising questions about whether the bad old days of Michael Madigan are truly gone. Madigan stepped down as Illinois House speaker in January 2021. In March 2022, he was indicted on 22 counts of racketeering and bribery charges. Madigan maintains his innocence.
ShawnTe Raines-Welch, who is running for Cook County judge in the June 28 Democratic primary, “has received more than $200,000 from the campaign funds of current state lawmakers and from one retired lawmaker,” WTTW News reported last week.
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“House Speaker Welch personally asked some of the state representatives if they would donate to his wife’s campaign,” according to WTTW. “They delivered in a big way.”
For example, this year, the Raines-Welch campaign has reported contributions from Chicago-area Democratic House members that include state Rep. Greg Harris ($50,000), state Rep. Marcus Evans ($47,000) and $25,000 each from Reps. Elizabeth Hernandez, Jehan Gordon-Booth and Robyn Gabel.
The Raines-Welch campaign is building a broad and enthusiastic coalition of supporters, volunteers and donors, including elected officials, and is “deeply grateful” for their support, spokesman David Ormsby told WTTW.
On Friday, Welch was asked about the donations at an unrelated press conference.
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He has a right to support his wife and “best friend,” he responded. Welch noted she is running in the 4th Judicial Subcircuit. That area, which includes parts of Chicago’s south, west and northwest suburbs, “has never elected a Black person or a woman to the bench,” he said.
Raines-Welch is an attorney with 12 years of litigation experience. She has been rated qualified and/or recommended by numerous bar associations in Illinois, according to her campaign web site.
The donors in question are longtime, personal friends who “know this exceptionally qualified Black woman,” Welch said. “And many of them have reached out and said, ‘How can we help?’ Voluntarily, have said, ‘How can we help?’”
He added, “Nothing that has been reported on in the last couple of days is unethical or illegal.” And instead of questioning the donations, people “really should be talking about an exceptionally …read more
Source:: Chicago Sun Times
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