The story of Michael Madigan, the most powerful and controversial politician in modern Illinois history, will be told by the Better Government Association in a five-part limited series podcast, “The Madigan Rule.” Governors, and lawmakers who worked with and against Madigan, and journalists who covered him, tell how he ran Illinois–for good and for ill.

The series features exclusive interviews with former governors Bruce Rauner, Pat Quinn, George Ryan and Jim Edgar, along with State Representative Kelly Cassidy (14th) and Former State Representative Ken Dunkin (5th), as well as journalists Rick Pearson, Amanda Vinicky, Dave McKinney and Ray Long, all of whom covered Madigan. Alaina Hampton, who filed a lawsuit charging retaliation after she went public with sexual harassment allegations against Madigan’s political operation, is interviewed.

Also featured are BGA editors David Kidwell and John Chase, who led reporting for a Chicago Tribune series “The Madigan Rules,” beginning in 2010. The name of the BGA podcast was inspired by the Tribune series title. In the BGA podcast, veteran radio producer and host Justin Kaufmann speaks with people about Madigan’s rise to power and the grip he held on state government for nearly half a century. The podcast also covers the wide-ranging federal corruption probe that targeted Madigan, though he has not been charged with any crime.

“Mike Madigan is one of the singular figures in Illinois history, and we wanted to tell his story in a new way, via podcast, drawing on the voices of those who worked with and against him, who loathed, respected, admired and feared him,” said David Greising, BGA president and chief executive officer.

Podcast listeners can contact the BGA via email at to provide feedback and ideas for future podcasts.

The first two episodes will be released on October 6 with each subsequent episode releasing weekly. To listen to the podcast, visit


The Better Government Association is a non-partisan, nonprofit news organization and civic advocate working for transparency, equity and accountability in government in Chicago and across Illinois. The BGA uncovers waste and wrongdoing in government, holds elected officials accountable, litigates for open records and meetings, advocates for good government and empowers residents to engage and act. To learn more about the Better Government Association, please visit


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