Lisa Madigan

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Lisa Madigan
Lisa Madigan.jpg
Attorney General of Illinois
In office
January 13, 2003 - Present
Term ends
January 12, 2015
Years in position 12
PredecessorJim Ryan (R)
Base salary$156,600
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 2, 2010
First electedNovember 2002
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$23,068,493
Term limitsNone
Bachelor'sGeorgetown University (1988)
J.D.University of Loyola-Chicago
Date of birthJuly 30, 1966
Place of birthChicago, Ilinois
ProfessionLawyer, teacher
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Lisa Madigan (b. July 30, 1966, in Chicago, Illinois) is the current Democratic Attorney General of Illinois. She was first elected in 2002, and became the first woman in the state's history to hold the position when she was sworn in the following January. Madigan is now serving her third consecutive term as attorney general, having won re-election most recently in 2010. After an uncontested Democratic primary, she defeated three challengers in a landslide in the November 2, 2010 general election, garnering almost 65% of the vote.[1] Madigan's term expires in January of 2015 and her seat comes up for election in November 2014. She intends to run again in 2014 for a possible fourth term as Illinois' chief law enforcement official.[2]

Before announcing she would seek re-election in 2014, Madigan had been considered a strong potential candidate for Illinois Governor against incumbent Pat Quinn, a fellow Democrat whose first elected term has been beleaguered by unpopular policies and bad reviews; Even, at times, from fellow Democratic state officials, including Madigan, who, for instance, battled with Quinn in 2012 over his handling of budget cuts. Polling figures stretching back from November 2012 often showed Madigan as the frontrunner for the Democratic primary nomination.[3]

Madigan was a private practice attorney for the firm of Sachnoff & Weaver, based in Chicago.[4] prior to becoming attorney general. Early in her career she worked as a community organizer and a teacher, the latter experience briefly taking her all the way to apartheid-gripped South Africa. She was ushered into politics through family; her adoptive father is Michael Madigan, a stalwart Democratic state legislator. The elder Madigan has served in the role of Speaker of the House for almost two decades.[4]

Her father's position in Illinois government was cited as the main reason why her widely anticipated 2014 gubernatorial campaign never materialized.[2]


Madigan is a lawyer, former teacher and community organizer. Her father is Michael Madigan, a long time Democratic state representative and Speaker of the House. He has served as Speaker almost continuously since 1983, excepting two years when he did not occupy the leadership post.[4]

She graduated from Georgetown University in 1988 with her bachelor's degree and later went back to school to earn her J.D. from Loyola University-Chicago School of Law.

Madigan developed after-school programs to help prevent young children from becoming involved in drugs and gangs. She also volunteered as a high school teacher in South Africa for a brief time during apartheid. After returning to the United States she received her law degree, and became a litigator for the Chicago-based law firm of Sachnoff & Weaver.[4]


  • Bachelor's degree - Georgetown University (1988)
  • Juris Doctor - Loyola University-Chicago School of Law

Political career

Attorney General of Illinois (2003-present)

Madigan became the first woman Attorney General of Illinois in 2002, defeating Republican opponent, Joe Birkett, by just over three percent.

Gun control

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit set a deadline of June 9, 2013 by which Illinois would have to allow the carrying of concealed weapons outside of homes. Illinois is currently the only state with a complete ban on carrying concealed weapons. In May 2013, Madigan asked for more time to decide how to handle the implementation of the court order. The United States Supreme Court gave an extension to July 9, 2013. On June 14, Madigan applied for a further extension of the deadline. In her filing she stated the lawyer had been unable to meet the deadline because, "Counsel's supervisory responsibilities over the Civil and Criminal Appeals Division of the Attorney General's Office-including editing and revising briefs and preparing attorneys for oral argument-have occupied a substantial amount of time in May and the first two weeks of June, 2013." National Rifle Association lobbyist, Todd Vandermyde, accused Madigan's request as a stalling tactic due to Madigan's consideration of a 2014 gubernatorial run.[5][6]

On June 27, 2013 at an event sponsored by the campaign funding organization EMILY's list, which helps Democratic women get elected to public office, Madigan said she expected current governor-and potential Democratic primary opponent-Pat Quinn to sign a measure amending the state's blanket ban on the concealed carrying of firearms in public before the end of the legislative session. Madigan declined to answer directly how she would decide on the compromise if she were in Quinn's position, in order to avoid politicizing the issue, she said.[7]

Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act

On March 11, 2013, Madigan, together with twelve other state attorneys general, sent a letter to Congress in support of the Protecting Financial Aid for Students and Taxpayers Act, a bill which would ban for-profit colleges from using federal funds for marketing and recruiting techniques.[8] Sponsored by Senators Kay R. Hagan (D-NC) and Tom Harkin (D-IA), who chairs the chamber's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, the law aims to “ensure that scarce federal education dollars will be used to serve and educate students rather than to finance advertising campaigns, recruitment operations, and aggressive marketing.”[9] Consumer protection is one of the key duties assigned to the attorney general in each state.

According to the law's text, student enrollment at for-profit degree-issuing institutions such as the University of Phoenix more than doubled between 1998-2008, during which time the federal government--through student financial assistance programs--provided 86 percent of revenues to 15 reviewed publicly traded companies operating these for-profit colleges. A separate analysis of 15 such companies concluded that, on average, 28 percent of all expenditures were on advertising, marketing, and recruiting. Critics, including the attorneys general responsible for the letter advocating the bill's passage, contend that these expenditures are used to deceive consumers about program costs, graduation rates, or their employment potential beyond graduation. The bill seeks to restrict spending of this nature by higher education institutions or other postsecondary educational institution by prohibiting use of federal loans or grants in specific areas, and requiring that all such institutions whose revenues can be traced to federal educational assistance funds "report annually to the Secretary and to Congress the institution's expenditures on advertising, marketing, and recruiting."[8]

In the letter, the attorneys general urged, “Federal taxpayers should not be asked to foot the bill for aggressive recruiting and deceptive sales tactics of colleges that have placed profits ahead of ensuring student success.”[10] There are an estimated 3,000 for-profit schools nationwide, though neither the letter nor the bill cited the name of a specific institution.[11]

Gay marriage ban

In 1996, Illinois passed a law which established the explicit definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, effectively banning same-sex marriage within the state. On Friday, June 29, 2012, The Thomas More Society, an public-interest law firm, filed a request to intervene in a suit brought by two county clerks seeking to defend the ban against recent legal challenges from gay couples whose requests for marriage licenses had been denied. As the issuers of marriage licenses, the clerks have a vested interest in making sure the marriage ban is applied uniformly across the state, and decided to step up in reaction to a previous action taken against a Cook County clerk for his legally adherent denial of licenses. In that case, the Cook county clerk agreed with the plaintiffs, as did the County attorney responsible for prosecuting the case.

The situation attracted a substantial amount of attention from the media, due in large part to the conflict of duty it presented the Cook county prosecutor and attorney general Madigan, after the Cook county case was consolidated with the case brought by the two clerks seeking to defend the ban. Madigan and Anita Alvarez (the Cook County State's Attorney) are obligated, arguably, to uphold state law, but their job descriptions would put them on opposing sides of a case predicated on a law which they, along with the plaintiffs and the defendant, oppose, making the statutory ban vulnerable to judicial repeal. Madigan and Alvarez refused to defend the ban on account of their belief that it violates the state constitution’s equal protection clause. As attorney general, Madigan is duty bound to enforce Illinois law and defend government officials in cases where their ability to enforce the law is being questioned or threatened.[12]

Healthcare reform

See also: State Attorneys General Against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010

On March 23, 2009, the day President Barack Obama signed into law his controversial health care reform measure, The Affordable Patient Protection Act of 2009, Republican Congressman Aaron Schock issued a letter, sponsored by fellow Illinois representatives Judy Biggert, Peter Roskam, John Shimkus, Tim Johnson, and Don Manzullo, calling upon Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to join other state attorneys general in suing the federal government. Schock argued that the measure "blatantly violates the commerce clause of the Constitution [because] Congress has no authority to require individuals to buy insurance." Furthermore, the letter states, the "bill would add more than $1 billion in extra Medicaid costs to the state's obligations," by 2020. [13] The same day, State Senate Majority Leader Christine Radogno requested Madigan's office provide legal opinions to questions related to the passage of the health care reform measure. The first asked whether the mandatory insurance requirement violated the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution; the other challenged the legality of the legislation based on whether or not it usurped powers reserved to the states relegated to them through the Tenth Amendment. [14]

Nearly a week after both state and federal legislators representing the citizens of Illinois issued letters requesting that she join other states in filing suit against the federal government, Madigan waved off suggestions that the animosity of the American public aimed at the newly enacted health care reform bill meant the measure was seriously flawed. Instead, she insisted, it was merely a bi-product of its historic nature. "If you look back, most significant legislation — whether it was the Social Security Act, the Voting Rights Act, even Medicaid — they weren't necessarily popular at the time they passed," she argued, so "looking back at those issues in historical context gives you better perspective." [15]

Budget cuts

Madigan lobbied against Gov. Pat Quinn's (D) proposal for more state budget cuts in 2012. The attorney general's office suffered deep cuts years ago, and had yet to fully recover. According to her, the office produced $908 million in 2011 -- "nearly $30 for every $1 in tax money it spent," but could not continue to generate revenue for the state under circumstances of plummeting morale among the state's top attorneys, one third of whom had already retired or left in search of better paying alternatives.[16] Madigan told the Associated Press on March 7, 2012 that the office was already deteriorating from previous cuts, combined with a level of tax-revenue provided funding lower than what it received back in 1998; further cuts would mean a reduction in the amount of money the office could bring in from lawsuits and other legal work. Gov. Quinn, a fellow Chicago Democrat, argued that state executive office cuts had to happen so Illinois could provide vital services to its citizens, boiling the issue down to a simple choice between "bureaucrats and schoolchildren".[16]

Madigan made her plea to stop the cuts before the General Assembly, where her father is Speaker of the House, but Representative David Reis of the House Appropriations Committee was not convinced of her cause who dismissed her claim that the attorney general's office ought to have been exempt from further cuts, and said the committee expected to "hear from everybody...about how important their stuff is."[16]


See also: Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now

Madigan was one of six state attorneys general, all of whom belonged to the Democratic Party, who received the highest rating, a letter grade of A+, from the June 2008 Survey and Scorecard report published by the political organization, ACORN. The report was published in an effort to shine the spotlight on state attorneys general "leading the fight to protect homeowners from joining the flood of Americans losing their homes to foreclosure," according to the group. [17]

Public records

Madigan's office in May 2009 heralded the passage of Senate Bill 189 (SB0189) as "a great victory for advocates of open and accountable government at all levels." [18] SB0189 amended the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act by codifying the Public Access Counselor (PAC) position within the AG's office and explicitly authorized "the PAC to review and determine whether documents must be disclosed under FOIA or whether a government body has violated the Open Meetings Act." [18]

Some people, like good government advocate Adam Andrzejewski, were less then enthusiastic, however, saying it would be better if Madigan practiced what she preached. For example, Andrzejewski pointed out that a simple "review of freedom of information requests received by her office in 2006 and 2007 reveals that she is late almost half the time in responding to information requests." [19] Madigan's office failed to meet the state mandated seven day request deadline with 225 out of 537, or 42%, of those cases.


See also: Service Employees International Union

The conservative Illinois Review posted an article in September 2009 stating that of the nearly $12 million Illinois political campaign contributions embattled ACORN/SEIU has made over the years, Illinois State Board of Elections records showed that Attorney General Madigan received a grand total of $223,460. [20]

Antoin 'Tony' Rezko

Rezko, a generous contributor, fundraiser, and long time friend to President Barack Obama as well as closely associated with disgraced former Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich, was convicted on several counts of fraud and bribery in 2008. The embattled campaign fund-raiser covered his bases on the state level as well. In March 2002, Rezko made two $5,000 individual contributions to Citizens for Lisa Madigan. [21]

Andrew Harris

One of the largest financial contributions Madigan received during her 2002 campaign for Illinois Attorney General was the $25,000 donation given by black metal musician, Andrew Harris. In addition to being the son of a Cook County Circuit judge, Harris is best known for his solo musical project, Judas Iscariot, whose stated goal was to spread anti-Christian philosophy through music. Madigan, unaware at the time of controversy surrounding the singer/songwriter, chose to take the money and "direct it to places that could provide the best use for it to fight the kind of bigotry that he stands for, which is absolutely abhorrent to Sen. Madigan and her record of service" once news of the donation broke in the Chicago Tribune. [22]

Illinois State Senate (1998-2002)

Madigan served as member of the Illinois State Senate from 1998 to 2002.



See also: Illinois attorney general election, 2014 and Illinois gubernatorial election, 2014

Madigan ran for re-election as Attorney General of Illinois.[2] The general election took place November 4, 2014.

Before announcing her bid for a fourth term as attorney general, Madigan had been considered a potential 2014 Democratic primary challenger to incumbent Governor of Illinois Pat Quinn, who is running for re-election.[23]


See also: Illinois Attorney General election, 2010
  • 2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election
2010 Race for Attorney General - General Election [24]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Lisa Madigan 64.7%
     Republican Party Stephen H. Kim 31.6%
     Green Party David Black 2.2%
     Libertarian Party William Malan 1.5%
Total Votes 3,704,686
  • 2010 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary [25]
    • Lisa Madigan ran unopposed in this contest
Lisa Madigan for Attorney General Campaign logo


  • 2006 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary [26]
    • Lisa Madigan ran unopposed in this contest
2006 Race for Attorney General - General Election [27]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Lisa Madigan 72.4%
     Republican Party Stewart Umholtz 24.3%
     Green Party David Black 3.3%
Total Votes 3,479,812


2002 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary [28]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Lisa Madigan 58.2%
     Democratic Party John Schmidt 41.8%
Total Votes 1,199,440
2002 Race for Attorney General - General Election [29]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Lisa Madigan 50.4%
     Republican Party Joe Birkett 47.1%
     Libertarian Party Gary L. Shilts 2.5%
Total Votes 3,498,901

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Madigan is available dating back to 1998. Based on available campaign finance records, Madigan raised a total of $23,068,493 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 10, 2013.[30]

Lisa Madigan's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Attorney General of Illinois Not up for election $1,730,362
2010 Attorney General of Illinois Won $3,044,602
2008 Attorney General of Illinois Not up for election $2,721,378
2006 Attorney General of Illinois Won $3,151,663
2004 Attorney General of Illinois Not up for election $883,951
2002 Attorney General of Illinois Won $10,765,263
2000 Attorney General of Illinois Not up for election $292,555
1998 Attorney General of Illinois Won $478,719
Grand Total Raised $23,068,493


Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Lisa Madigan's donors each year.[31] Click [show] for more information.

Recent news

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Madigan currently resides in Chicago, Illinois with her husband, cartoonist Pat Byrnes, and their two daughters.[4]

Contact Info


Capitol Address:
Office of Attorney General
100 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601

Phone: (312) 814-3000
Toll Free Phone: (800) 964-3013

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. Illinois State Board of Elections - 2010 General Election Results
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Capitol Fax, "This just in… Lisa Madigan announces reelection bid," July 15, 2013
  3. Public Policy Polling, "Quinn extremely unpopular, Madigan would start out favored," November 29, 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Illinois Attorney General, "Biography of Lisa Madigan," accessed September 15, 2012
  5. Quincy Journal, "Lisa Madigan: I’m swamped and need more time," accessed June 27, 2013
  6. Watchdog Media, "Application for a Second Extension of Time in which to File a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit," accessed June 27, 2013
  7. The Chicago Tribune, "Concealed carry amendatory veto likely, Lisa Madigan says," June 27, 2013
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Library of Congress, "Bill Text 113th Congress (2013-2014) S.528.IS," March 12, 2013
  9. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named agsletter
  10. The Boston Globe, "Attorney generals to Congress: Don’t let for-profit colleges use federal grants and loans for advertising," March 17, 2013
  11. Commonwealth of Kentucky Office of the Attorney General, "Letter to Congress," March 11, 2013
  12. The Associated Press, "Downstate clerks want to defend gay marriage ban," July 3, 2012
  13. Illinois Review "Illinois Republicans Call on Madigan to Challenging Constitutionality of Health Care Bill" 23 March, 2010
  14. Illinois Review "Radogno Asks AG Madigan About Constitutionality of Health Care Plan" 23 March, 2010
  15. Crain's Chicago Business "Lisa Madigan says health care backlash follows history" 29 March, 2010
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 The State-Journal Register, "Illinois AG pushes back on budget," March 7, 2012
  17. ACORN "Attorneys General Take Action: Real Leadership in Fighting Foreclosures" June 2008
  18. 18.0 18.1 Illinois AG Lisa Madigan - Transparency Legislation Will Reform Open Government Laws in Illinois
  19. Illinois Review "AG Madigan's Phony Bait-and-Switch FOIA Policy" 5 June, 2009
  20. Illinois Review "ACORN/SEIU donated thousands to IL statewide and law enforcement officials" 22 Sept. 2009
  21. Illinois Review "Rezko's Illinois Friends: Exhibit A" 29 Jan. 2008
  22. Chicago Tribune "Madigan to give up `bigotry' money" 2 Sept. 2002
  23. Public Policy Polling, "Quinn extremely unpopular, Madigan would start out favored," November 29, 2012
  24. Illinois State Board of Elections - 2010 General Election Results
  25. Illinois State Board of Elections - 2010 Primary Election Results
  26. Illinois State Board of Elections - 2006 Primary Election Results
  27. Illinois State Board of Elections - 2006 General Election Results
  28. Illinois State Board of Elections - 2002 Primary Election Results
  29. Illinois State Board of Elections - 2002 General Election Results
  30. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Lisa Madigan," accessed July 10, 2013
  31. Follow the, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
  32. David Freed for AG, "Endorsements", accessed February 15, 2012
  33. John F. Kennedy Library Foundation - Lisa Madigan biography

Political offices
Preceded by
Bruce A. Farley
Illinois State Senate - District 17
Succeeded by
District Merged
Preceded by
Jim Ryan (R)
Illinois Attorney General
Succeeded by