For more than two decades he controlled the state legislature as speaker. He was the head of the state Democratic Party. He vied with governors and mayors to be the state’s most powerful elected official.

Yet when the time came — when the allegations of fraud and corruption made it impossible for him to do his job — his legislative colleagues did not cower. They took control.

The Democratic lawmakers met in caucus and excused him from the room. Before the meeting ended, they ousted him as speaker. His days as a power broker had come to an end.

The politician in question was Sheldon Silver, ousted as the longtime leader of the New York Assembly in 2015. And whether Silver’s past is Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s prologue remains to be seen.  


David Greising

David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative...