A Michael Madigan confidant tried to curry favor with then governor-elect J.B. Pritzker last year but was unsuccessful. According to emails obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times through the Freedom of Information Act, Michael McClain of Quincy ran a quiet smear campaign of Pritzker’s chief of staff Anne Caprara and offered unsolicited recommendations for the state’s director of aging, for the head of the Quincy Veterans Home and for the director of land management at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Caprara ordered Pritzker’s staff on May 1st not to have any contact with McClain because of his ongoing lobbying of the governor’s office. Two weeks after the directive, McClain’s home was raided by federal investigators for allegedly taking money from Commonwealth Edison for alleged lobbying and legal services and orchestrating payments to the ousted Madigan political adviser Kevin Quinn. Caprara said that if she needed to hear Speaker Michael Madigan’s opinions on appointments or other issues, she believed he would come to the governor’s office.
Sources to the Sun-Times say that McClain mocked Pritzker’s choices for executive offices through sexism, racism, and other forms of intimidation. McClain has not made any public comment about the investigation into his work save for a Christmas card released publicly earlier this month. Governor Pritzker told Sun-Times reporter Tina Sfondeles today that he wants any elected official caught in a federal investigation to be rooted out of the state’s government. “They don’t deserve to hold public office,” he said. Pritzker allegedly told Caprara that he believed the smear campaign was a sexist attempt to get her to quit.