The People's Lawyer:

Lisa Madigan, Illinois’ first female Attorney General, was elected on November 5, 2002. She is the state’s 41st Attorney General.

Madigan, the state’s chief legal officer, advocates for the people of Illinois and for the state. Since being sworn into office in January 2003, she has worked to pass a lifetime supervision law to keep dangerous sexual predators away from women and children, led efforts to restore integrity to Illinois gaming, secured passage of laws to help stop the spread of methamphetamine and protected consumers from fraudulent practices.

In December 2003, Madigan created a statewide team of law enforcement agencies to focus on improving the state’s Sex Offender Registry, which is administered by the Illinois State Police (ISP). Leading this team, Madigan has worked with law enforcement across the state to crack down on sex offenders who fail to register and helped secure passage of legislation to improve the registry.

Together with law enforcement, Attorney General Madigan has made it a top priority to help stop the spread of the destructive and highly-addictive drug, methamphetamine. She has passed legislation to crack down on meth makers who endanger children, passed legislation to cut off criminals’ access to the ingredients to make the drug and most recently passed legislation that brings Illinois in line with its border states in requiring people to sign a log and show ID when purchasing medicines with pseudoephedrine (PSE) and ephedrine – the main ingredients needed to make meth.

Madigan also has provided training for local prosecutors to better prosecute meth crimes and has provided prosecutorial assistance to State’s Attorneys handling difficult meth cases that cross through many jurisdictions.

Madigan is the state’s chief consumer advocate. Her efforts to protect consumers, especially seniors who often are the target of fraud, include educating consumers about emerging scams, mediating consumer complaints and filing lawsuits to stop fraudulent practices and recover money on behalf of Illinois consumers.

Madigan, who recently received the “Sunshine Award” from the Society of Professional Journalists, has worked to make government more open and accessible to the public. In December 2004, she created the position of Public Access Counselor (PAC) to take an aggressive role in ensuring that public bodies conduct their business openly and that the public has access to governmental information. Prior to her election as Attorney General, Madigan served as a State Senator and was a litigator at a Chicago law firm. Before becoming an attorney, she worked as a teacher and community advocate on Chicago’s west side, helping prevent children from becoming involved in gangs and drugs. After graduating from college, Madigan traveled to South Africa, where she was a volunteer high school teacher in apartheid-era South Africa.

Madigan received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and her J.D. from Loyola University Law School. She and her husband, Pat Byrnes, have a daughter.

A Tough, Independent, Effective Advocate for Illinoisans

Over the past three years, Lisa Madigan has developed a strong record as one of Illinois’ most independent public officials. Time and again, she has stood up to entrenched and powerful special interests, and time and again she has won a victory for the people of Illinois.

Fighting Corruption: Saying No to a Casino in Rosemont

When she came into office in 2003, Attorney General Madigan immediately continued the fight to revoke the state's 10th and final casino license, held by Emerald Casino. The revocation was being pursued due to a long pattern of deceit on the part of Emerald and some of its investors, who were intent on covering up Emerald's connections to organized crime and other inappropriate interests and questionable behavior. Attorney General Madigan vigorously pursued the right to resume the revocation hearing. After extensive work, Attorney General Madigan reached a settlement that would have stripped Emerald of its license and ensured that the process of selecting the next recipient of the license would be open and fair. While attempting not to harm Emerald's innocent investors, Madigan consistently opposed any option that would have let wrongdoers receive a windfall.

Madigan's settlement with Emerald would have required those accused of wrongdoing to pay $20.6 million, more than double the then-largest gaming fine in the country. When, as part of the settlement auction process, the Illinois Gaming Board decided to award Emerald's license to another casino to be built in Rosemont and operated by investors that posed concerns for the integrity of Illinois gaming, Madigan immediately objected and went back to the administrative hearing to revoke Emerald's license unconditionally. Emerald attempted to block the revocation hearing by filing a flurry of lawsuits, but in November 2005, Judge Abner Mikva recommended revocation of the license, and the Gaming Board adopted his recommendation. Emerald has appealed the decision. Madigan continues to defend the interests of the state and the people of Illinois in numerous lawsuits filed by Emerald and Rosemont.

Holding the Powerful Accountable: Enforcing the Open Meetings Act

In a closed-door, unpublicized meeting on August 6, 2003, the board of the Chicago Transit Authority approved major changes to its cash-strapped pension plan, chiefly benefiting executives and board members. In a move unheard-of in Illinois, Attorney General Lisa Madigan told the board that they had to rescind that decision and re-address it in a meeting open to the public, or she would file a lawsuit under the Open Meetings Act. The CTA board backed down and rescinded the pension changes.

Prosecuting Public Misconduct: Felony Conviction of a Democratic State Legislator

Attorney General Madigan has not hesitated to aggressively pursue public officials who misuse their powers of office. She secured the felony conviction of Democratic State Representative Patricia Bailey, for lying about her address in order to run in the Sixth District, in Chicago. Bailey was convicted of perjury and forgery for giving false addresses on her statement of candidacy for the March, 2004 primary election. Attorney General Madigan has initiated prosecutions of official misconduct across the state, from Lake County to Southern Illinois.

Ensuring State Government Plays by the Rules: Rejecting Governor Blagojevich’s Proposal to Mortgage the Thompson Center

In 2004, Governor Blagojevich sought to close a deal to mortgage the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago, bringing in cash to help the state budget but obligating the state to pay millions annually for the next 20 years. A Republican lawmaker asked Attorney General Madigan to review the legality of the proposed mortgage deal. In response, the Attorney General issued an opinion finding that the Governor’s plan was unconstitutional and refusing to allow the deal to proceed. The Attorney General determined that the mortgage proposal would increase state debt. To incur state debt under the Illinois Constitution, the General Assembly must approve the plan by a three-fifths majority. Because the legislature had not approved the Governor’s plan by this required margin, the Attorney General stopped it.

Fighting for Citizens’ Right to Know: Appointing the First Public Access Counselor

Attorney General Madigan created the Public Access Counselor position in 2005 to give Illinois citizens a full-time advocate for transparent government. The Public Access Counselor is a vital tool in the effort to put an end to a government run by and for entrenched insiders, and in the first year of operation, the Counselor handled over 1,000 Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act complaints.

Strong New Rules for Monitoring Sex Offenders

Attorney General Lisa Madigan has made protecting women and children from dangerous sexual predators one of her top priorities. Madigan came into office at a time when the state needed a leader to tackle the problem of sex offenders: someone who would be creative and comprehensive, addressing a tough issue from every angle with every tool at her disposal. By using her position as the state’s chief legal officer to bring agencies together, by increasing the effectiveness of existing laws and introducing new legislation to protect citizens, by working to refine and improve the Illinois Sex Offender Registry, and by targeting and investigating noncompliant offenders, Madigan has attacked the threat head-on.

Effective Leadership: Dramatic Improvements in Monitoring Sex Offenders

Lisa Madigan took office in January, 2003, to find a system of tracking sex offenders that was woefully inadequate. The sex offender registry website was poorly designed, out of date and unpublicized; there was no way for residents to alert law enforcement with tips, or to ask questions about the system; and state and local agencies had trouble interacting with each other to share information. By December, Madigan brought together federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to create the Illinois Sex Offender Registry Team (I-SORT).

The Madigan-led I-SORT team opened lines of communication between agencies that all dealt with sex offenders but were not used to sharing information. Today, thanks to Madigan and I-SORT’s efforts, the Department of Corrections works harder to notify local law enforcement when a newly-paroled offender is moving into their area, and the State Police work more closely with local law enforcement agencies to monitor offenders, sometimes for the rest of an offender’s life due to legislation championed by the Attorney General.

As a result of these efforts, compliance with Illinois’ sex offender registry has dramatically improved to over 90% of all Illinois sex offenders; the number of people using the registry website has quadrupled, to over 4 million hits a year; Illinois residents have a hotline they can call with tips or questions (1-888-41-ISORT); and Illinois law enforcement agencies routinely work together to share information and track missing sex offenders. Madigan’s office continues to work diligently to improve this vital resource for community safety.

Vigilance: New Lifetime Supervision Law Covering the Most Dangerous Offenders

Attorney General Madigan drafted and then led a successful broad-based effort to enact legislation that requires lifetime supervision of the most dangerous sex offenders, a sharp break with Illinois’ one-size-fits-all policy that was totally unsuited for dealing with the problem of sex offenders. Madigan took this approach because people who commit sex crimes are more likely than other types of criminals to commit the same crime again once out of prison. Illinois’ most dangerous sex offenders will now be required to alert local police of their whereabouts every year for as long as the rest of their lives, and are prohibited from ever being employed or volunteering around children. Lifetime supervision is critical to giving peace of mind to the most vulnerable members of our society.

To ensure that lifetime supervision is more than just a slogan, the Attorney General’s Office has led a series of sweeps, looking for non-compliant offenders. These sweeps, such as the recent Operation Child Predator Watch in Decatur, have resulted in the arrests of offenders with outstanding warrants, and have helped to increase compliance with the Sex Offender Registry.

Tough, Innovative and Fair: New Mandate for Offender Evaluation and Treatment

In an effort to create comprehensive solutions to the problem of sex offenders, Attorney General Madigan proposed legislation, now law, mandating evaluation and treatment for Illinois sex offenders, as well as legislation that increases the penalties for non-compliance with sex offender restrictions. The legislation follows a report prepared by the Sex Offender Management Board that found that evaluation and treatment of sex offenders are the most effective tools to stop them from offending again. While requiring treatment for those sex offenders who can be treated, Madigan’s legislation also cracks down on offenders who try to dodge the system, attacking the problem from all sides.

Leading the Fight Against the Spread of Meth

Attorney General Lisa Madigan has been one of the state’s most consistent voices in the call to stem the methamphetamine epidemic. As the state’s chief legal officer, Madigan stepped up to fill the role of a statewide coordinator and leader. She led the effort to completely rewrite the laws that deal with meth, to make them easier for police, prosecutors and judges to use and interpret. She drafted and advocated for legislation that makes it harder to buy key meth ingredients, and that increases the penalties for meth cooks and dealers. She has also had success as a prosecutor, winning convictions against major meth producers and providing training to law enforcement across the state.

Leading the Fight in Springfield: Drafting Strong, New Meth Laws

Attorney General Madigan has won several major legislative victories in the war on meth. She has made it more difficult to purchase key ingredients, easier to prosecute meth cooks and easier for local communities to clean up the hazardous waste sites they leave behind.

In 2003, she led the fight to pass legislation requiring meth cooks to pay for the cleanup of their dangerous, chemically contaminated laboratories. This legislation has the dual benefit of increasing the penalty for making meth, and easing the burden on local law enforcement to clean up the environmental catastrophe of a meth lab. Madigan also championed legislation to double the penalties for meth production when it endangers the lives of children, who are particularly susceptible to the toxic fumes of a meth lab.

In 2004, Attorney General Madigan advanced SB 2244, the Methamphetamine Manufacturing Chemical Retail Control Act, which imposed significant restrictions on the sale of key meth ingredients in Illinois. At the time, this legislation represented some of the strongest restrictions on meth precursor ingredients in the country. Illinois’ border states responded by passing even stricter legislation. Continuing to work on this issue, in 2005 Madigan drafted SB 273, now law, which further restricted the sale of meth precursor ingredients and ensured that Illinois would not be the meth shopping mall of the Midwest.

Also in 2005, the Attorney General’s Office took the extraordinary step of rewriting the major portions of the Illinois laws impacting meth prosecutions. The Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, drafted by Madigan’s Office, combined and strengthened laws related to the production, distribution and use of meth. The Act simplified the law to make prosecutors’ jobs easier, and increased the penalties for meth cooks.

Leading the fight in court: Convicting the “Meth Magician”

Attorney General Madigan also has been aggressive in taking the fight against meth out of the statehouse and into the courtroom. Her office is actively involved in meth prosecutions. For example, in November 2004, her office successfully convicted one of Illinois’ most prominent meth cooks. Robert Steven Siverly, the “meth magician”, was sentenced to 22 years in prison on multiple drug conspiracy charges.

Spreading the Word: Comprehensive Training for Law Enforcement and Farmers

In addition to enforcing the law, Madigan’s office has held trainings for law enforcement and farmers across the state. Madigan’s trainings for law enforcement have focused on best practices for investigating and prosecuting meth cases. Madigan’s office is in the unique position of being able to learn from the experiences of all 102 counties in Illinois, and educate local law enforcement on the successes enjoyed by their counterparts across the state.

Farmers also have a significant role to play in the effort to stop meth, as the anhydrous ammonia they need for fertilizer is a key meth ingredient and hard to obtain elsewhere. For this reason, Madigan contacts all chemical and fertilizer dealers in the state, as well as major farm organizations, in advance of the spring planting season to remind them to secure anhydrous ammonia tanks. Madigan has also awarded grants to support the efforts of Illinois farm youth organizations to spread the word about the dangers of meth.

Protecting Families and Consumers

Illinois consumers have an advocate in Attorney General Lisa Madigan. As the lawyer for the people of Illinois, Madigan works to ensure fairness for all consumers. Her efforts have led to a better deal for anyone who turns on a light, makes a cell phone call or needs to fill a prescription.

Fair Utility Bills: Saving Millions for Consumers and Taxpayers

Attorney General Madigan has consistently opposed utility companies that seek to evade their responsibility to charge a fair price for their services. She fought to stop SBC from applying half of a mandatory $27 million price reduction to discontinued services. Working with the City of Chicago and the Citizens Utility Board, she negotiated a major settlement with People’s Energy that will refund $100 million to consumers who had been unfairly billed, decrease future bills by about $10 million a year, and restore service and erase outstanding debts for thousands of customers. And in August 2005, Attorney General Madigan filed a lawsuit to prevent the Illinois Commerce Commission from approving a plan to set electric prices at auction, a proposal that would raise rates by as much as a billion dollars for consumers who have no choice when it comes to power companies. While the issue is not yet settled, Madigan continues to defend the interests of consumers who wish to pay a fair price for their energy.

Fair Prescription Drug Prices: Fighting to Make Drugs More Affordable

Nothing is as important to us as our health, and that’s why, when prescription drug companies try to take advantage of their customers, we need leaders who will stand up for fairness. Attorney General Madigan has rolled up her sleeves and done just that: When drug companies tried to destroy records that could prove they fixed prices to squeeze millions of dollars out of Americans who needed their medication, Attorney General Madigan, along with attorneys general nationwide, stepped in to stop them.

In 2005, Madigan filed a lawsuit against 48 different drug companies, alleging that the prices they charged the state and federal government – the Average Wholesale Price (AWP) – were dramatically higher than the prices they charged the providers who actually purchased the medications. The difference in prices is alleged to have cost federal programs, the Illinois Medicare program and Illinois Medicaid participants hundreds of millions of dollars. Madigan has also advocated for legislation that requires pharmacists to disclose the retail prices of the medications they sell, to make sure consumers can shop for the best deal possible.

Fair Lending Practices: Enforcing the New Mortgage Fraud Rescue Protection Act

When unscrupulous predatory lenders try to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners, they can do tremendous damage to families and neighborhoods. Attorney General Madigan has cracked down on lenders who try to steal people’s homes out from under them, by going after loan flippers, predatory lenders and mortgage “rescue” scam artists. She has filed lawsuits against companies such as HomeSavers USA, Inc., which took fees from $350 to $900 but did not engage in negotiations on behalf of their clients, or do anything to help their clients save their homes. Madigan has also sued other companies, such as Platinum Investment Group and Advantage Mortgage Consulting, for claiming to “save” their clients' homes, when in reality they bought the homes and sold them off, making a substantial profit while intentionally deceiving homeowners.

In addition to filing lawsuits to target companies involved in the practice, Madigan has also improved laws already on the books to protect homeowners, and she introduced legislation to prevent the actions of companies like HomeSavers USA, that claim to help consumers by “negotiating” with creditors while simply taking their fees and running. Madigan proposed the Mortgage Rescue Fraud Prevention Act, now law, to crack down on mortgage “rescuers” who swindle away the houses of people in debt with false promises and deceitful practices. Madigan also has held community roundtable events in Pilsen and Springfield to educate community leaders on predatory lending and foreclosure scams.

Fair Cell Phone Practices: Protecting Privacy and Requiring Simpler Product Information for Cell Phone Users

Attorney General Madigan has been at the forefront of a variety of issues relating to cell phones. In addition to being the first Attorney General in the country to file a lawsuit against companies that sell private cell phone calling records, Attorney General Madigan, along with attorneys general nationwide, reached agreements with three major carriers that require them to provide accurate coverage maps and increase the ability of customers to terminate contracts without penalty. In February 2006, Attorney General Madigan testified before Congress on the threat to individual privacy posed by these cell phone record brokers.

A Vigorous, Efficient Partner of Law Enforcement

Attorney General Lisa Madigan has acted in a variety of different ways to make sure that Illinois law enforcement officers have the tools they need to do their jobs. She has committed the resources of the Attorney General’s office, both in court and in the classroom, to helping keep Illinois safe.

Advocating in the United States Supreme Court: Victories for Law Enforcement

In November 2004, Lisa Madigan personally argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, in Illinois v. Caballes, that police officers should have the ability to use specially trained drug detection dogs to alert police to the presence of illegal narcotics during traffic stops. The defendant in Caballes was pulled over for speeding on I-80 and discovered to have 282 pounds of marijuana in his trunk. The discovery was made when Krott, a drug-sniffing dog with the Illinois State Police, walked around the exterior of the vehicle and alerted state troopers to the smell of illegal drugs. In a 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court agreed with Attorney General Madigan that such a sniff does not constitute a search. Law enforcement groups across the country, in amicus briefs filed in support of Madigan’s position and in statements after the verdict emphasized the importance of the ruling. “It affirms what police officers on the street feel they need in order to keep these communities drug free and safe,” Greenville, South Carolina Police Chief Willie Johnson said. “I think this will help us in our fight against the drug crimes.”

In January 2004, Madigan’s office prevailed in another Supreme Court case that affirmed the ability of police to use informational checkpoints to protect the public. Lombard police had set up a highway checkpoint to ask for information concerning a hit-and-run accident that occurred the week before in the same location. The defendant approached the checkpoint and swerved, nearly hitting an officer, who smelled alcohol on his breath. He was pulled over, and another officer administered a sobriety test, determining that he was under the influence of alcohol. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court agreed with Attorney General Madigan and gave police the power to set up checkpoints to gather information about the commission of a crime.

Innovative Training Partnerships: Sharing Best Practices with Police Agencies

Attorney General Madigan has worked to make the resources of her office available to help police departments train their staff on a variety of subjects. The training sessions Madigan has created for law enforcement have included:

Enforcing the Environmental Laws

In 2001, the Sierra Club made its first endorsement ever for Illinois Attorney General. Lisa Madigan was their selection, and today, after three years in office, it’s easy to see why.

Enforcing Environmental Protections: Strong New Laws Target Polluters

Lisa Madigan has been steadfast in opposing the Bush administration’s repeated attempts to cripple the federal Clean Air Act. She has twice filed petitions in federal court to prevent the administration from giving a break to polluters, and successfully blocked a rollback of key portions of the New Source Review program.

Attorney General Madigan has been equally firm in using the Clean Air Act to protect the environment. The Attorney General’s office recently enforced the Act in two of the largest environmental protection cases in Illinois history, reaching resolutions that will collectively reduce air pollutant emissions by over 81,000 tons per year.

Madigan was instrumental in drafting and advocating for the passage of the Safe and Clean Communities Act, which strengthened Illinois enforcement of anti-pollution safeguards. Additionally, after an Illinois Appellate Court broke with decades of precedent to prevent the Attorney General’s office from holding polluters accountable for cleaning up their devastation, Madigan’s office drafted and successfully advocated for legislation to reinstate that ability.

Holding Polluters Accountable

Although it began dumping millions of gallons of wastewater containing radioactive tritium into the groundwater around its Braidwood nuclear power plant as early as 1996, Exelon only disclosed that it had done so in late 2005. As a result, Attorney General Madigan, along with Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow, is suing Exelon. The suit seeks to force Exelon to immediately provide a source of drinking water for nearby residents, and to take measures to prevent further tritium leaks. Additionally, Glasgow and Madigan recently succeeded in obtaining a preliminary injunction which will guide the cleanup process and ensure that a plan is in place to protect the public health and the environment.

Madigan prevailed in another high-profile pollution case, reaching a $200,000 settlement with the Dave Matthews Band after one of their tour buses poured 800 pounds of liquid human waste on top of a tour boat plying the Chicago River.

Working Closely with the Business Community

Recognizing that fraud can target anyone, from a single individual to a large corporation, Attorney General Madigan has stood up for businesses that are victims of deceptive practices. Working closely with her Business Advisory Council, Madigan has worked hard to make Illinois a good place to set up shop.

Protecting Small Businesses: Saving Millions for Businesses

Following the bankruptcy of Norvergence, hundreds of Illinois small businesses were left with contracts for several years of telecommunications service that would not be provided, but for which fees would still be collected by leasing companies that owned their rental agreements. Acting in coordination with attorneys general from across the country, Attorney General Madigan negotiated settlements with six of the leasing companies that will save over 300 Illinois small businesses almost $7 million.

Madigan also joined the Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago in opposing ComEd’s decision to set its energy prices at an auction. Recognizing that the primary victims of the inevitable increase in energy prices would be small and medium-sized businesses as well as consumers, Madigan urged the Illinois Commerce Commission to prevent ComEd from subjecting its customers to a dramatic, unfair and unnecessary increase in electricity prices. While the issue is not yet settled, Madigan continues to advocate in court for fair utility prices for small and medium-sized consumers.

Uncovering Kickbacks: Aggressive Prosecution of Fraud Affecting Business

In 2005, Madigan announced a settlement with Aon Corporation that returned $190 million to insurance policy holders, including many Illinois businesses, following an investigation that revealed Aon accepted kickbacks in return for steering clients toward certain insurance companies. The settlement, which was reached in coordination with the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut, and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, is a victory for the Illinois business community and those who care about paying a fair price for a competitive service such as insurance. Similar settlements were recently reached with Zurich American Insurance Company, which required Zurich to pay $153 million including $88 million to policyholders and $13 million to the state of Illinois, and with Bermuda-based ACE, Limited and its subsidiaries. The ACE settlement requires the company to pay back $80 million, of which $40 million will go to policyholders and $8 million to the state of Illinois.

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