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Madigan Unveils New Strategy In Harassment Scandal

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan is turning to women for damage control, following the latest sexual harassment incident to strike his political machine.

Meantime, the Democrats' nominee for governor, J.B. Pritzker, is scrambling to create distance from Madigan without jumping ship.

CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley has the story.

At a graduation ceremony for CPS mentors, it was J.B. Prtizker who was dancing around questions about whether Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan should resign in the wake of a burgeoning sexual harassment scandal.

Pritzker was asked whether Madigan bears no responsibility for the people who've been working in his name.

"I believe he does, and that responsibility is to rid the entire organization of people who are committing these unfortunate sexual harassment incidents," said Pritzker.

Earlier this week, Madigan fired Tim Mapes, his chief of staff and executive director of the state Democratic party.

This after longtime Madigan aide Sherri Garrett accused Mapes of sexual harassment.

Mapes, the fourth member of Madigan's political network fired or demoted in the ongoing scandal.

"As you know, I've called for independent investigations of each of the allegations that have been made," said Pritzker.

Now, in response, Madigan's decided to put the women in charge.

Lieutenant governor candidate Juilana Stratton will join 18 women from the Democrats' state central committee to decide who replaces Mapes as the party's executive director.

Madigan said the panel recognizes "the need for a better culture throughout Illinois government and politics."

Also on Friday, Governor Rauner demanded an independent probe into Madigan's empire.

"We need to change this culture of harassment and abuse that has been rampant in the General Assembly and the legislature under speaker Madigan," said Rauner.

However neither Rauner nor Pritzker are calling for Madigan to step down. And that's significant.

Rauner and the GOP want Madigan around to use as a whipping boy for corruption and now for sexual harassment as well.

And despite his deep pockets, Pritzker is relying on Madigan's political machine to get elected.


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