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During NIU visit, Pritzker reacts to Madigan indictment

 J.B. Pritzker joins DeKalb Mayor Cohen Barnes during a visit to NIU on March 3, 2022
Jenna Dooley
J.B. Pritzker joins DeKalb Mayor Cohen Barnes during a visit to NIU on March 3, 2022

Illinois’ Governor says he is cooperating in the federal investigation into former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

J.B. Pritzker visited Northern Illinois University on Thursday to talk about lowering the cost of higher education, but he voluntarily addressed the elephant in the room — an indictment handed down against Michael Madigan on charges of bribery and racketeering.

“The conduct alleged in this indictment is deplorable and a stark violation of the public’s trust," Pritzker said. "Michael Madigan must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”

Madigan maintains his innocence. Pritzker says he answered questions from federal investigators and has not been accused himself of any wrongdoing. He says he last spoke with Madigan earlier this week regarding changes to the Illinois Arts Council.

Meanwhile, a former northern Illinois Republican representative says he is not surprised to hear that Michael Madigan has been indicted on racketeering and bribery charges.

Bob Pritchard says it wasn’t a matter of “if” there would be an investigation into the former House Speaker.

“I think it was a matter of when," Pritchard said Thursday during Pritzker's visit to NIU. "The federal government was out to look for the evidence and they found it. The thing that has always troubled me though is that we have a legal system in Illinois and what was the role of our Attorney General? You go back to Governor Blagojevich. We knew there was corruption there and there was never any state involvement and now we haven’t had any involvement in the Madigan situation.”

Pritchard served in the Illinois House from 2003 until 2018. He presently serves on the NIU Board of Trustees.

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Jenna Dooley has spent her professional career in public radio. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois - Springfield. She returned to Northern Public Radio in DeKalb after several years hosting Morning Edition at WUIS-FM in Springfield. She is a former "Newsfinder of the Year" fromthe Illinois Associated Press andrecipient of NIU's Donald R. Grubb Journalism Alumni Award. She is an active member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and an adjunct instructor at NIU.