Arrest of two Mike Madigan cronies implicated in 2016 sham candidate scheme ordered

In case you missed it, Joseph Nasella and Michael Kuba, two political operatives for Illinois House of Representatives Speaker Michael “Mike” Madigan (D-Chicago), were ordered to be arrested for refusal to comply with subpoenas issued as part of an ongoing civil court case in regards to an 2016 sham candidate scheme ran by Nasella and Kuba in that year’s Democratic primary in the 22nd Representative District of Illinois, which Madigan represents:

A federal judge on Monday ordered the arrests of two alleged political operatives of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan for failing to appear for depositions in a lawsuit filed by Madigan’s opponent in the 2016 election.

Joseph Nasella and Michael Kuba were each found in contempt of court by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly, who authorized deputy marshals to “use necessary and reasonable force” in making the arrests, court records show.

Nasella and Kuba were subpoenaed to testify under oath in a lawsuit filed by Jason Gonzales, who ran against Madigan in 2016 and claimed the speaker’s team stacked the ballot with phony candidates with Latino-sounding last names to confuse voters.

Both Nasella and Kuba, who circulated petitions for the alleged sham candidates, were paid through campaign funds that Madigan controls, Gonzales’ lawyers have alleged in court.


While Madigan won the Democratic primary in question with a majority of the vote (making any concerns about the anti-Madigan vote being split between multiple candidates in the Democratic primary moot), that doesn’t make the sham candidate scheme that Madigan’s campaign committee ran any less corrupt. Nasella and Kuba did Madigan’s dirty work by circulating petitions for the two sham candidates, Joe Barboza and Grasiela Rodriguez, in order to get them on the ballot. The 22nd Representative District of Illinois has a large Hispanic/Latin(o/a) population, and it was inherently clear that the Madigan machine made a concerted effort to get two candidates with Hispanic-sounding surnames on the Democratic primary ballot in 2016 in an effort to split the non-Madigan vote if Madigan was unable to get a majority of the primary vote himself.

Marie Newman, who is considering running in the Democratic primary against Madigan ally and anti-abortion extremist Dan Lipinski for the U.S. House seat that is currently held by Lipinski, called “for the Machine to be stopped at all levels of government”:

I look forward to supporting progressive Democratic candidates like Newman who want to make the Democratic Party of Illinois a better, less corrupt, and more progressive political party. I expect the Machine to pull out every dirty trick in the book to try to stop progressive candidates who want to make the Democratic Party here in Illinois a better political party.