State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit to challenge House Speaker Michael Madigan for leadership post he’s held for decades

Four-term Democratic state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego said Thursday she will challenge longtime Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan for leadership of the chamber when the new General Assembly is seated in January.

Kifowit is one of a handful of House Democrats who have called for Madigan’s resignation since federal prosecutors unveiled a deferred prosecution agreement with Commonwealth Edison in July in which the state’s largest utility admitted to a yearslong bribery scheme aimed at currying favor with the powerful speaker.

A Marine Corps veteran, Kifowit has been in the House since 2013 and is running for reelection unopposed in the November.

Kifowit said in a statement that she called for Madigan to resign “for compromising the integrity of the office and undermining public trust.”

“The response from Michael Madigan was to double down and has remained that way,” Kifowit said. “It is clear to me that he doesn’t hold the same values that I do and falls short of what the public expects from an elected official.”

Kifowit’s decision to challenge Madigan a month before the election puts vulnerable House Democrats and Democratic candidates, particularly in the suburbs, into an even more awkward position leading up to the election—whether to back Madigan or her or someone else.

It is a question many were hoping to wait out until after the election despite repeated attacks by Republicans on the issue. But her run provides new fuel to the issue.

There are also questions about the extent of support for her candidacy. Madigan still holds the power and controls the purse strings in the Democratic caucus and has made loyalty paramount during his decades long tenure as speaker.

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Madigan has not been charged in connection with the ComEd probe and has denied any wrongdoing.

At the request of House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs, a special House committee is investigating whether Madigan engaged in “conduct unbecoming to a legislator.” The committee heard testimony from an executive with ComEd parent Exelon this week, but Madigan and other witnesses have declined the invitation to testify.

Madigan has been speaker since 1983, with the exception of two years in the 1990s when Republicans took control of the House. House Democrats have been nearly unanimous in voting for him to remain speaker, with only a few dissents. Most recently, Rep. Anne Stava-Murray of Naperville voted “present” in 2019, as did then-Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood in 2017.

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House Speaker Michael Madigan says it’s not ‘ethically improper’ to find government jobs for people. Here’s what he’s failing to mention.

For years, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has defended his aggressive push to land political allies and their friends and family on taxpayer-funded payrolls, but rarely has he waxed as philosophically about it as he did last week in a three-page letter.



Michael Madigan wearing a suit and tie: Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan (D) 22nd District talks with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R) 82nd District before a debate at Illinois House to vote on a bill raising statewide minimum wage during session at the State Capitol in Springfield on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.


© Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan (D) 22nd District talks with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R) 82nd District before a debate at Illinois House to vote on a bill raising statewide minimum wage during session at the State Capitol in Springfield on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.



Michael Madigan standing in front of a door: Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan (D) 22nd District watches as Illinois House votes on a bill raising statewide minimum wage during session at the State Capitol in Springfield on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.


© Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan (D) 22nd District watches as Illinois House votes on a bill raising statewide minimum wage during session at the State Capitol in Springfield on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

Facing intense pressure from a federal investigation into ComEd’s bribes-for-favors scandal and an invitation from a House corruption committee to tell the public what he knows, Madigan’s missive broke two months of near silence. The powerful speaker loudly proclaimed his innocence and tried to reframe his penchant for patronage hiring as a virtue.

Not only is “helping people find jobs not a crime,” Madigan wrote, it’s not even “ethically improper” for politicians to make job recommendations.

“To the contrary, I believe that it is part of my duties as a community and political leader to help good people find work — from potential executives to college interns, and more,” wrote the 78-year-old Illinois Democratic Party chairman, alluding to some of the very jobs that prosecutors brought up in charging ComEd with crimes. “What an employer chooses to do with that recommendation rests solely with their discretion.”

What Madigan didn’t mention when discussing the numerous jobs he’s secured for people during more than 50 years in politics is how that practice has benefited him and what it’s cost taxpayers and electricity ratepayers.

The Tribune has spent the last decade chronicling how it works: Patronage jobs are the lifeblood of Madigan’s political organization. And the people Madigan recommends be hired often serve as foot soldiers on the campaigns for the very legislative seats that allow the speaker to stay in power. In turn, that control of the House is key to helping Madigan bring in clients at his law firm, which handles high-dollar property tax appeals on some of Chicago’s biggest buildings.

Starting in 2010, the Tribune published the “The Madigan Rules,” a first-of-its-kind, yearslong investigation that exposed how the speaker built his political empire and law practice, revealing how those two careers repeatedly intersected. The report found that in some cases Madigan took public actions that benefited his private clients, though the speaker said his “personal code of conduct” ensured he maintained “high ethical standards.”



Michael Madigan sitting at a table using a laptop: House Speaker Michael Madigan listens to a debate on the House floor in 2019.


© Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
House Speaker Michael Madigan listens to a debate on the House floor in 2019.

In 2013, the legislature’s watchdog investigated Madigan’s role in a Metra scandal after the commuter

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Boris Johnson apologises after he’s left fumbling over pub garden rules in north-east England



Ralf Baumeister wearing a suit and tie


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Boris Johnson was left fumbling when asked if he could clarify regulations on pub gardens in north east England amid confusion over the rules.

Tough restrictions banning “indoor mixing between households in any setting” are being enforced on Tuesday evening to help curb the spread of coronavirus in a number of areas.

“Boris Johnson left fumbling as he’s quizzed on local lockdown rules in north-east England”

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Asked to clarify whether the restrictions extend to pub gardens, the Prime Minister tied himself in knots, seemingly referring to the rule of six.

He said: “On the rule of six, outside the areas such as the north east where extra measures have been brought in, it’s six inside, six outside.

“And in the north east or other areas where extra tight measures have been brought in, you should follow the guidance of the local authorities.

“But it is six in a home, six in hospitality, but as I understand it, not six outside. That is the situation there.”

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner branded Mr Johnson “grossly incompetent”. “For the Prime Minister to not understand his own rules is grossly incompetent,” she said.

“These new restrictions are due to come into force across huge parts of the country tonight. The Government needs to get a grip.”

https://cdn.jwplayer.com/players/1eF4ZMo2-hKY5LbS1.html

Mr Johnson later apologised. In a Tweet following his speech, he said: “Apologies, I misspoke today.”

He added: “In the North East, new rules mean you cannot meet people from different households in social settings indoors, including in pubs, restaurants and your home. You should also avoid socialising with other households outside.

“This is vital to control the spread of coronavirus and keep everyone safe. If you are in a high risk area, please continue to follow the guidelines from local authorities.”

The Department for Health and Social Care was approached for comment but no explanation was available.

However, while it is understood that pub and restaurants are not covered by the new legal restrictions, it is against Government “guidance” to meet people from other households in those settings in affected areas.

“This applies to inside and outside of the affected areas. Examples of public venues include pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions,” the guidance says.

It comes after both Downing Street and education minister Gillian Keegan were unable to say whether households could mix in pub and restaurant gardens under the new regulations.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Department of Health are setting out the full details of the steps they announced last night later on today.”

Pressed about the confusion, the spokesman added: “It is the

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Ben Carson notes reveal he’s ‘not happy’ with White House official: report

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonState AGs condemn HUD rule allowing shelters to serve people on basis of biological sex Biden cannot keep letting Trump set the agenda The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Trump heads to New Hampshire after renomination speech MORE unintentionally indicated that he is not satisfied with the White House’s Presidential Personnel Office (PPO) after his notes were visible to reporters at a Trump 2020 campaign event on Friday, Bloomberg reported

Ahead of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It ‘isn’t worth the paper it’s signed on’ Trump ‘no longer angry’ at Romney because of Supreme Court stance MORE’s remarks at a Black economic empowerment event in Atlanta Friday afternoon, Carson spoke at a podium while holding a piece of paper with typed out statements that at one point became visible to reporters. 

“I am very loyal to you and after you win I hope to stay in your administration,” the notes said. “I am not happy with the way PPO is handling my agency.”

According to Bloomberg, Carson did not read those remarks publicly at Friday’s event. 

The PPO is responsible for vetting presidential appointments and hiring candidates to work throughout the White House’s various agencies. 

The office is led by John McEnteeJohn (Johnny) David McEnteeOPM chief abruptly resigns Meadows joins White House facing reelection challenges Trump administration hires another college senior for key role MORE, Trump’s former personal assistant who had been fired in 2018 for undisclosed reasons. Trump brought McEntee back on to oversee the PPO in February. 

In some of the images of Carson’s notes tweeted by reporters on Friday, a line appeared to say, “I like John and respect what he is doing, however I am sensing a severe [illegible] of trust,” with Carson’s microphone blocking the illegible words.

 

The White House declined to comment when contacted by The Hill. The Department of Housing and Urban Development did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Carson has continuously vocalized his support for Trump and the president’s reelection, challenging claims that Trump is racist in his address at the Republican National Convention last month. 

“President Trump does not dabble in identity politics. He wants everyone to succeed and

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Princess Diana’s Former Butler Makes Claim About What She Buried in Kensington Palace Garden, and He’s Not the Only One

Princess Diana died following a car crash in Paris more than two decades ago but even after her death, there has been no shortage of conspiracy theories and outrageous claims about the princess. They include Diana having a long lost daughter, the princess predicting her own death months before it happened, and being pregnant with another child when she was killed.

The majority of stories about the princess rely on one person’s word. However, a wild claim thrown out there by Diana’s former employee is being corroborated by another person who witnessed it. Here’s what Diana’s former butler says he helped her bury in the Kensington Palace garden and who else knew about it.

Princess Diana
Princess Diana | Bettmann / Contributor Getty Images

RELATED: This Is the Very First Thing Prince Charles Said When He Heard Princess Diana Died

What Diana’s former butler says she buried in the garden

Paul Burrell worked for the late princess from 1987 to 1997. After she passed away, he revealed a number of things about his former boss. His choice to talk publicly about the princess’s private life has been viewed as poor taste, but one revelation has really raised some eyebrows especially since someone else is claiming it did happen.

The Express noted that in his 2006 book The Way We Were, Burrell wrote that he aided Princess Diana’s in burying a body. According to Burrell, Diana’s best friend Rosa Monckton gave birth to a stillborn baby in 1994 and they buried the infant in the garden. This may sound a little far-fetched but more than a decade after Burrell revealed the secret, Monckton finally decided to speak about the incident.

Monckton, who is the former Asprey & Garrard CEO, told Australia’s Channel 7’s Sunday Night show that she and her husband, newspaper editor Dominic Lawson, did have a stillborn child. She added that Diana offered to bury the child in the garden.

Princess Diana with her butler, Paul Burrell, in 1994
Princess Diana with her butler, Paul Burrell, in 1994 | Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images

Monckton recalled that when Burrell asked how they would get through security Diana said, “I’m going to tell the chief inspector that we’re going to bury a pet in the garden. Only you, I, and Rosa will know it’s a baby.”

Diana’s close pal remembered that they had an emotional ceremony and then Diana gave her a key to the garden, which remains in her possession to this day. Monckton described what the Princess of Wales’ did as “an extraordinary thing.”

Following the loss of her baby, Monckton and Lawson had another child named Domenica and Princess Diana was her godmother.

A body was recently found on the grounds of Kensington Palace

Prince William and Kate Middleton
Prince William and Kate Middleton | Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images

In September 2020,  the Daily Mail reported that human remains were found at Kensington Palace. Those remains though were pulled from a pond and are of an adult female who was falsely identified initially as missing artist Endellion Lycett Green.

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New White House coronavirus adviser Atlas says he’s a ‘straight shooter’

Dr. Scott Atlas, the controversial newest addition to the White House Coronavirus Task Force, says he is a “straight shooter.” He proceeded to demonstrate that in a lengthy and wide-ranging interview with BBC Radio Friday.



a man wearing a suit and tie: FILE - In this Aug. 12, 2020, file photo Scott Atlas, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington. Trump has announced that Dr. Scott Atlas, a frequent guest on Fox News channel, has joined the White House as a pandemic adviser.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)


© Andrew Harnik/AP/FILE
FILE – In this Aug. 12, 2020, file photo Scott Atlas, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington. Trump has announced that Dr. Scott Atlas, a frequent guest on Fox News channel, has joined the White House as a pandemic adviser.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Atlas, a neuroradiologist who wrote a book on magnetic resonance imaging, said it doesn’t matter that he has no expertise in epidemiology or infectious diseases; he accused public health experts of ignoring data; said the US was doing better compared to Europe in terms of coronavirus deaths and claimed — incorrectly — that the case fatality rate in the US is down by more than 90%.

Atlas said ongoing restrictions to try to control the coronavirus pandemic are having worse effects than the virus itself.

“The impact of prolonging the lockdown is worse than the impact of the disease,” Atlas told the BBC Radio Newshour.

“There is a worse outcome from prolonging the lockdown and I think everyone knows that,” said Atlas, who is also a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

“We are not advocating – I am not advocating – less mitigation. What I’m advocating is using logic and rational reasoning to understand the harms of locking down,” Atlas said.

Atlas referred to reports showing some cancer patients are skipping chemotherapy, stroke patients are not going to the ER, childhood immunizations are down, and more people have contemplated suicide during lockdown.

“This is because of the lockdown. This is because of the isolation. This is not direct damage from the virus,” he said.

Atlas has been criticized for comments made earlier this year in defense of a herd immunity strategy for handling the pandemic. He has denied this and denied that he argued for letting the pandemic run its course.

“I have never, literally never, advised the President of the United States to pursue a strategy of herd immunity, of opening the doors and letting people get infected. I have never advised that, I have never advocated for that to the task force, I have never told anybody in the White House that that’s what we should be doing,” Atlas said.

He also said that the concept of herd immunity is not controversial.

“It is known to exist, if you don’t understand herd immunity as an immunologist or as a doctor or anyone involved in the discussion about this, there’s something, you know, missing from your knowledge,” Atlas said. “Herd immunity is a phenomenon.”

Herd immunity develops when enough people get an infection and when there is a vaccine, Atlas said.

“That is the whole purpose of generating a vaccine,” he said. “That is the main purpose

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