Republican Attorney General Candidate Continues Push
The Republican candidate for Illinois Attorney General says he won't give up his call for current office-holder Lisa Madigan to stop giving legal advice regarding a state investigation. But Madigan says her opponent is stretching the truth.
Republican Paul Schimpf says Madigan's ties to a troubled anti-violence program are too close for comfort. The Neighborhood Recovery Initiative is the subject of an ongoing Federal investigation, as well as a state probe for questionably spent funds.
Madigan served as co-chair on the board that oversaw the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority, which oversaw implementation of the NRI. Schimpf says those two degrees of separation are not enough when Madigan is giving legal advice regarding the investigation.
"That's a classic conflict of interest that any first-year law student would recognize," he said. "You don't even have to be a lawyer to see that the interests are diametrically opposed."
It's part of Schimpf's overall message that Madigan is an entrenched member of the so-called Democratic machine in Illinois.
But Natalie Bauer, spokeswoman for the Attorney General, says Schimpf's attack ignores the state's constitution. She says it's the attorney general's job to give legal advice on state matters to elected officials — like Sen. Jason Barrickman (R-Bloomington), who sought Madigan's advice in his capacity as co-chair of the Legislative Audit Commission.
"There's no conflict," Bauer said. "And anyone who's suggesting otherwise is just trying to score political points."
Statewide, Madigan has a comfortable lead over Schimpf, though Schimpf has an edge among downstate voters.
Schimpf is also behind in fundraising; At the end of the last reporting period, Madigan's campaign purse boasted $4.8 million dollars, compared with $8,000 dollars in Schimpf’s.