Failing

House Speaker Michael Madigan says it’s not ‘ethically improper’ to find government jobs for people. Here’s what he’s failing to mention.

For years, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has defended his aggressive push to land political allies and their friends and family on taxpayer-funded payrolls, but rarely has he waxed as philosophically about it as he did last week in a three-page letter.



Michael Madigan wearing a suit and tie: Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan (D) 22nd District talks with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R) 82nd District before a debate at Illinois House to vote on a bill raising statewide minimum wage during session at the State Capitol in Springfield on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.


© Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan (D) 22nd District talks with House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R) 82nd District before a debate at Illinois House to vote on a bill raising statewide minimum wage during session at the State Capitol in Springfield on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.



Michael Madigan standing in front of a door: Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan (D) 22nd District watches as Illinois House votes on a bill raising statewide minimum wage during session at the State Capitol in Springfield on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.


© Zbigniew Bzdak / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Speaker of the House Michael J. Madigan (D) 22nd District watches as Illinois House votes on a bill raising statewide minimum wage during session at the State Capitol in Springfield on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019.

Facing intense pressure from a federal investigation into ComEd’s bribes-for-favors scandal and an invitation from a House corruption committee to tell the public what he knows, Madigan’s missive broke two months of near silence. The powerful speaker loudly proclaimed his innocence and tried to reframe his penchant for patronage hiring as a virtue.

Not only is “helping people find jobs not a crime,” Madigan wrote, it’s not even “ethically improper” for politicians to make job recommendations.

“To the contrary, I believe that it is part of my duties as a community and political leader to help good people find work — from potential executives to college interns, and more,” wrote the 78-year-old Illinois Democratic Party chairman, alluding to some of the very jobs that prosecutors brought up in charging ComEd with crimes. “What an employer chooses to do with that recommendation rests solely with their discretion.”

What Madigan didn’t mention when discussing the numerous jobs he’s secured for people during

House Committee Says U.S. Spy Agencies Are Failing China Challenge

WASHINGTON—A House Intelligence Committee report concludes that U.S. spy agencies are failing to meet the multipronged challenge posed by China and calls for changes to focus on pandemics, trade and other issues often given less attention by intelligence professionals.

The report, most of which is classified, portrays the $85 billion-a-year U.S. intelligence community as overly focused on traditional targets such as terrorism and adversaries’ militaries. Pandemics, as evidenced by the coronavirus, and China’s technological prowess in areas like artificial intelligence present an equal threat, according to a summary of the report released Wednesday.

The report recommends fundamental changes in the way intelligence agencies operate, including providing greater support to the Commerce Department, the National Science Foundation, public health organizations and other agencies outside the usual national security bureaucracy.

“Absent a significant and immediate reprioritization and realignment of resources, we will be ill-prepared to compete with China—diplomatically, economically, and militarily—on the global stage for decades to come,” said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.).

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which coordinates the work of 17 U.S. intelligence organizations, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The report and two others published this week are part of a growing consensus on Capitol Hill that new thinking and bipartisan support are required to address Beijing’s challenge to U.S. global primacy. The reports and their findings suggest that harder-line China policies are likely to prevail in the coming years, whether in a second Trump term or in a Biden administration.

The China Task Force, a group of 15 Republican members of Congress, in its own report calls China the “greatest national and economic security challenge of this generation.” It offers more than 400 recommendations, ranging from providing safe harbor to people fleeing China’s democracy crackdown in Hong Kong