If you’re like me, a registered Democrat, perhaps you have been getting large, glossy mailers from Sam Rosenberg who is running for State Representative from the 103rd District. He is one of two Democrats running ― the other is Carol Ammons. I’ve been getting his mailers almost daily. One day, I got two. Each round of these costs at least $6,000 which leads me to wonder: Where is Sam Rosenberg’s money coming from?


One of the mailers shows a Donald Trump-esque rich white guy wearing a smoking jacket and ascot with a scotch in one hand and a piece of cake in the other. “When multi-millionaires get their cake and eat it, too...” it reads. “Middle-class families get stuck with the bill.” In fact, the Democratic candidate sending out these mailers is being bankrolled by those who wish to give tax breaks to the “one percent.” Sam Rosenberg has received nearly half of his reported campaign contributions from political action committees (PACs) closely tied to Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, who wants to cut corporate taxes by 50% ― benefitting the very fat cats portrayed in this mailer.

According to campaign finance reports as of March 3, Sam Rosenberg has accepted $42,323 from two PACs: $11,750 from the Friends of Michael J. Madigan, and $30,573 from the Madigan-controlled Democratic Majority. This represents 40% of donations subject to public disclosure (anything over $1,000). Additionally, Madigan has provided a staffer for Rosenberg’s campaign. These mailers I’ve been getting are to insure that the Madigan Machine continues to rule over state politics.   

Who is Michael Madigan?

Michael Madigan has been a member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 1971, spending 30 of those years as Speaker of the House. He holds the record for the longest-serving Speaker in the state’s history. Many consider him the most powerful politician in Illinois, and de facto Governor of the state.

As the Chicago Tribune reported in January 2014, Madigan released a statement asking the legislature to “improve the business climate” in the state by reducing the corporate tax rate from 7% to 3.5%. Rather than seeing companies rush to set up shop in Illinois, we can predict such a move would only worsen the state’s budget crisis.

In a public debate on February 5, Rosenberg said he backed Madigan’s proposal to cut corporate taxes by 50%. When interviewed by the News-Gazette, Rosenberg admitted to taking the money, but tried to downplay the connection. “The Speaker is just another Democrat who is assisting me,” he said.

Sticking it to the Middle-Class

While Rosenberg claims to defend the middle-class, his political godfather and his political allies have attempted to make up for a $100 billion shortfall in the state pension system by sticking middle-class families with the bill. In the Spring of 2010 Madigan helped orchestrate the passing of Pension Bill 1946, which implemented a “pension holiday” that cost Chicago teachers hundreds of millions of dollars out of their pension system and implemented a two-tier pension system pushing back the retirement age for new teachers to 67 years old. Despite being fought by teachers’ unions, the bill came out of committee and was passed in less than twelve hours, in what the Illinois Observer called “legislative light speed.”

Since then, Madigan has been working with the deceptively named, “Stand for Children,” a lobbying group that aims to erode the rights of teachers’ union. (Watch this video of a Stand for Children operative who was caught on camera explaining how the group courted Madigan and eroded teacher union bargaining rights.) As recent as February 2014, Stand for Children gave $21,100 to Madigan’s Democratic Majority, the same Democratic Majority which has given Rosenberg nearly half of his contributions. 

Last year, Madigan spearheaded Senate Bill 1, a controversial deal cutting pensions for all state workers that is currently being challenged by unions as unconstitutional. Soon, Rosenberg may bring such pension “reforms” to the 103rd District.

If Michael Madigan gets his way in the Democratic primary on March 18, multi-millionaires will surely get their cake and eat it too.

(Ed. note: Opinion articles published on Smile Politely reflect only the views of the individual and not of the staff, editors, or company that owns the publication.)